The scourge of www.Juicycampus.com has seemingly reached new levels as Miami University’s Panhellenic (Panhel) has called on state and university officials to act against what they see as a malicious Web site. In a letter to the Ohio attorney general, the organization sought to promote a movement against Juicy Campus, while comments to administrators seek to ban access to the Web site from campus Internet users. The editorial board of The Miami Student previously spoke of our discontent with Juicy Campus in a Sept. 12 editorial (“Juicy gossip represents dregs of Internet pluralism”) and we continue to believe in the harm that such sites can do. However, the prospect of banning campus Internet access to the Web site seems to border on the ridiculous.
Why, after all, should the university block a specific Web site when campus Internet users can still access pornography or quickly Google Web sites about how to construct a pipe bomb, cannon or even flamethrower? Moreover, the argument about banning Juicy Campus is infinitely regressive to the core. Where one site may be banned, two more could rise up to take its place. In fact, the same types of things posted on Juicy Campus can currently be posted on Facebook.com, or on any number of free and anonymous message boards Miami students may visit. Furthermore, there is no threshold for establishing a precedent of banning a Web site through campus Internet. How much hate much a site represent before it is worthy of being removed from accessibility? How can we quantify this hate, and how many other Web sites would meet these standards and need to be banned in addition to Juicy Campus? The questions only seem to pile up the more one thinks about the prospect of the university banning a Web site.
We are, of course, not opposed to people speaking out. Panhel clearly has an issue that they are at odds with and are completely within their right to speak out and mobilize people against Juicy Campus. There is no reason that just because a Web site exists there should be complacency with its content; the question is just one of how to take the most effective action against an issue that may be harmful, but is still largely protected by the First Amendment.
As time goes on and the novelty of the site wears off, we feel that people’s minds are mostly made up on if they feel that the site is good or bad. While many feel that nothing positive comes out of the Web site in the first place, at this point it seems like nothing more than a useless and mediocre site that has taken its place among the backdrop of information sharing sites on the Internet-there is nothing inherently special about Juicy Campus that would continue to draw viewers that could not be achieved on any other Web site.
This board does feels that while banning would be frivolous, it may be effective in preventing new viewers. In the end, however, the question of how far Miami’s responsibility over its students reaches is still unanswered. The banning of a Web site seems to go beyond the university’s need to protect the student body, and could establish a dangerous precedent for other university protections. In the end, we must rely on ourselves and, if we can refer to our previous editorial, never forget that “people need to grow up” and take such Web sites for what they’re worth.