“Vile and demeaning” are just some of the words used by NCC President Dr. Mark Erickson in an email that slammed an online Twitter page run by an unknown NCC student.
The Twitter account known as NCC Confessions has close to 1,000 followers and to date has posted more than 2,000 tweets. Students can anonymously submit “confessions,” which are then posted via the Twitter handle. But the constant use of profanity, racism and sexual content has drawn attention from faculty.
The tweets seem to focus on commenting on the appearance of particular students, spreading rumors and sharing photos captured around campus.
“I am concerned that members of this community would engage in activity that is racist, sexist, bullying, and hurtful,” Erickson said in an email sent Monday to all students.
“Speech that hurts and demeans has no place at NCC,” he said. “NCC is a great place and we are tremendously proud of our culture. These postings threaten that culture very directly.”
Andrew Salamone, a Criminal Justice major from Nazareth, disagrees.
“I think it’s awesome, to be honest,” he said. “Some of the stuff on there isn’t that bad. It’s a way to stay connected online as people of the same school.”
But the connection may be lost for some, as the page frequently posts hateful comments between students, occasionally using their full names and photos. But despite that, the page has a huge fan base on campus.
“It’s mad funny,” said Zach Griffith, a HVAC major from Easton. “It makes my day; it’s the only reason I go on Twitter. Let us have our thing – it’s freedom of speech.”
After Erickson’s email reached the NCC community, the student behind the controversial page sent out the following tweet: “To respect the school, y’all gotta start being nice. I won’t post it if it’s cruel, racist or downright disrespectful. Sorry guys. ”
However, the site continued to post sexually orientated submissions about other students.
The growing use of social media and smart phones means that college gossip such as that posted on the site, which may previously have been communicated face to face, is now online for all to see, including other students, professors, staff and future employers.
The site appears to be most popular with students in the 18-to-20 age range who are making the sometimes difficult transition from high school to college life.
A quick search on Twitter brings up similar pages for educational institutions in New York, Florida and Arizona, as well as other less-popular student-run NCC pages. As social media seeps into every area of college life, some people remain undisturbed by its presence.
“I didn’t know there was a Twitter. I barely even check my student email,” first-year student Nick Pittman said.
Speaking about student reaction following his statement, Erickson said, “For me, any posting that spreads hatred or demeans any member of the NCC family is unacceptable … and certainly not funny.”
The student behind the page declined to speak to The Commuter.