The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Juicy gossip failing to meet libel rules

Viewpoint by Julissa Treviño/south news editor

Imagine a place where anyone can place you on a list of students who are HIV positive, whether it’s true or not.

Better yet, imagine your surprise to find out you’ve been placed on the list of men “most likely to rape a girl” or the list of “biggest sluts on campus.”

Recently, students around the nation have dealt with these accusations, most of them false, and haven’t been able to do anything.

This form of expression may sound awful, but it’s completely legal.

Such accusations are coming from anonymous users on JuicyCampus.com. The Web site allows college students to post gossip, lies, truths, absolutely anything, about their classmates, with complete anonymity and no repercussions.

JuicyCampus currently operates on 62 college campuses around the country, according to People magazine.

Because the Web site has been working within current laws, JuicyCampus should not be shut down or even censored.

In 1996, Congress declared that a Web service provider has immunity from prosecution for libel committed by its users.

To successfully sue for libel, one must first prove that the statements were false (and many of them, such as calling someone ugly or even a slut, are subjective) and that they defame a person’s character. Even then, since the Web site allows anonymous users, no one can be blamed. 

Some universities have attempted to block the Web site on university servers, but there’s something about censoring the Internet that just seems wrong. It seems like a loss of our freedoms.

So, whom can we blame? Well, only the people who continue to visit the site.

In fact, many of the students who have been misrepresented on the Web site found out because they were going on the site … to read gossip about others, perhaps?

According to the Web site, “If you think Mary is a bitch, you are entitled to express that.” I can’t disagree.

Obviously, if you can’t handle the gossip and criticism that goes along with college life, perhaps you need some serious adjustments in the way you look at things.

No one can eliminate the pain and worry after you’re been wrongly accused, but legally, JuicyCampus.com has done nothing wrong.

So, until the gossipers face up to their own ethical values, students should learn how to react to such rumors because surely, throughout their college education, they will encounter many more.

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