Regarding Jeff Adelson’s article about the alleged racist threats posted by Tulane students on Yik Yak, I wholeheartedly agree with President Fitts’ decision to address the student body and condemn the racist atmosphere on campus.
Yes, these posts may have been deemed nothing more than offensive though not inherently dangerous threats; however, I think it’s the duty of a school administration to ensure that its students are upholding the ideals of the school, even in the digital world.
In today’s society, social media has made it easy for so-called Internet trolls to spew hatred behind a mask of anonymity, which, in my opinion, is incredibly dangerous for young people. When internet users decide that their free speech on social media especially the anonymous kind is free from consequence, they become all the more likely to broadcast offensive, insensitive, and hateful messages.
This is why it’s so important that Tulane is handling the issue in such an open, unbending way. Students need to be made aware that regardless of the medium used, disrespect and bigotry is not free from punishment, even if said medium is, like social media, not technically within the jurisdiction of their school.
If the Tulane administration can make this clear, I hope that its students will be more likely to think before they post in the future. I’d also like to commend President Fitts for his quick response to the issue. Inconsequential as a few rude Yik Yak posts may seem, any form of disrespect among students is simply not okay, especially when such disrespect explicitly violates Tulane’s values.
Also, had Fitts not immediately addressed the problem of racism on campus when it arose, Tulane could find itself in chaos similar to the kind currently being suffered by University of Missouri students and faculty. Overall, I’m so glad issues of racism are being addressed in the New Orleans community, and I’m proud to be part of a city that simply will not tolerate such hatred.