Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana bans Yik Yak from network

The Augustana community received an email stating that the popular, anonymous social media app Yik Yak had been banned from the college’s network in response to four student groups who requested administration to take action.
Yik Yak is a social media app in which users post opinions and share ideas in complete anonymity with other users close-by. Other users can then “up vote” or “down vote” posts.
About two weeks ago, an email was sent to the Augustana community from the Student Government Association (SGA), saying that specific groups were being offended with several racist posts. The email also announced the possibility of a network wide ban of the app.
On Wednesday, the president of SGA, Richie Benson, and the president of Black Student Union (BSU), Darien Marion-Burton, sent an email just before 1 p.m. saying that the app would be banned from Augustana’s network because the college refuses to tolerate “anonymous and hateful post, especially those targeting individuals and groups of students on campus.”
According to Benson, the Dean of Students, SGA, BSU, Greek Council and Multicultural Club Council were the groups who requested the app be excluded from allowed websites.
“This is a liberal arts school,”said Benson. “We are suppose to feel comfortable and proud speaking our minds in a positive manner, and if people are going to argue that Yik Yak is how they did that, I get a little upset.”
Benson said anonymity is not a way to express yourself on matters like these in an environment like Augustana.
“Augustana is a community that encourages debate and pushing the envelope on issues in the classroom, in clubs, in talking with each other and anonymous communication doesn’t really fit into all of that,” said Director of Public Relations Sam Schlouch.
President Steven Bahls said he attended a BSU meeting a week before making the ultimate decision to ban Yik Yak with the assistance of Dean Campbell.
“They built a good case (when requesting that app be banned), and we decided that this decision was a good one to be made,” said Bahls
According to Bahls, The ITS department was made aware of the plans for the Yik Yak shutdown prior to the network ban announcement, and the school is aware that students will be able to use the application outside of the network on their own mobile devices when not on the college’s Wi-Fi.
He says that he hopes to get a certain messages across to the student body saying that he hopes for fewer hateful messages at Augustana.
“Augustana College does not condone and will not tolerate hateful, violent, anonymous cyber-bulling and we will do what we can within our limited means to prevent it from happening,” said Bahls.
Benson, who is a senior, shared similar hopes.
“I don’t want to graduate knowing that Yik Yak hurt people,” said Benson.
He says it is time to build a new community after the hate in previous years.
However, some students on campus do not think this change will solve anything.
“I personally don’t think it should be banned, because it feels more like a high school atmosphere,” said sophomore Emily Haygood. “I think we are old enough and mature enough to know what we are posting. (Yik Yak posts) are down voted so quickly that I have never seen a racist post, and that says that the Augustana community controls what’s on there”
Benson says that people who continue to use that app are just going to show support of the negativity that the app brings onto the campus.
This is the first time an app has been banned on Augustana’s network in history.

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Augustana bans Yik Yak from network