Websites Host Controversial Student Dialogue

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV)-- Dozens, if not hundreds of female students at JMU are being talked about in a negative light online.

It's happening through two websites that are well known to university students and even some of the staff.

The people providing the platform for these attacks said they met and founded their operation while attending JMU.

"I mean, I just think this website in general shouldn't be there and JMU is a great school," said Olivia Long, a JMU student, "I hadn't heard of it, none of my friends had heard of it. And it didn't seem like it was as popular because not many people were writing on there."

But Olivia has something else in common with a growing number of students, she has been targeted by a gossip website collegiateacb.com.

"I can see things happening from this that would be negative. I don't think it's harmless. It kinda can ruin someone's reputation," said Long.

The site has an entire page dedicated to JMU students.

"'Girls you should meet in every sorority' and there I am," said Long.

Although the category Long is in is flattering, others are offensive.

Some of the other topics include 'biggest slut', 'biggest boobs at JMU' and one topic, which focused on a single student, is too sexually offensive to talk about.

The names of real students are posted on these pages by anonymous users who post what could be damaging and dangerous accusations.

A student (this article will refer to her as Jane for the sake of anonymity) who was listed under one of the more offensive topics commented, "I first heard I was on the site when the guy I was dating got really mad because his friend showed it to him. I had not even had sex or anything, so it was very far from the truth."

Collegiateacb.com did not respond to our messages.

It doesn't stop there, Jane has a friend who was also a victim, but of a different website, schooldirt.com.

Its founders said to have started the site while studying at JMU.

"We can't have an open forum of discussion that's unfiltered and unbiased unless you provide this system for anonymity," said Emmanuel, a senior at JMU and chief engineer of the website.

He helped start the website two years ago.

"We allow all posts to go through without moderation," said Emmanuel, "It is still content that is valuable and should be out in public."

One post names a female student and her sorority and reads that she "gave my pledge brother genital warts."

If you search the young woman's name and JMU together on Yahoo, it is one of the top results.

Another is simply titled with the students name.

Replies to the post read "I'd stick it in her butt", "slut" and "hottest, but a complete psychopath."

Emmanuel said an average of 4,000 people visit the website daily, looking at 15 pages and spending an average of seven minutes on the site.

"How would they like it if they were all over that website and people were bashing them? They wouldn't like that. It would get their feelings hurt. So they have to put themselves in someone else's shoes," said Long.

For those thinking this website is just a problem for JMU, think again.

"Currently our main target area is JMU, but we do have plans for expansion in the near future to other schools in Virginia and actually around the nation," said Emmanuel.

He did say that if the subject of a post sends them a complaint, it will be reviewed and they will decide if the post should be removed.

Removal of a post usually takes three weeks.

Emmanuel claims the website doesn't make any money, so there's no payroll and no employees; however, there are 15 volunteers, from around the world, that run the site.

The founder, who graduated from JMU last year, currently lives on the West Coast.

Emmanuel said he's one of five students currently enrolled at JMU working on the website.


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