Tweeting “confessions”

If you’re a Xavier student and you’re on Twitter, I probably don’t need to introduce you to the many anonymous Xavier accounts, ranging from the uplifting

@XU_Affirmations to the raunchy @XUMakeouts to the always entertaining and suggestive @XUBananaEaters. The latest of these is an account that uses the Xavier University logo and operates under the handle @xavierfession, asking followers, “Something you have to say? Get it off your chest! DM or submit anonymously” and a humble and meaningless “**Not affiliated
with Xavier University.”

Initially, I figured the account would be another short-lived obnoxious account that would highlight the (often untrue) messages about Xavier being lame on the weekends. But quickly the account took off and began to disseminate highly objectionable material, sexual in nature and incredibly degrading towards women. Most recently, the account has started to direct insults at fellow students by name.

When someone I know personally came to me shook up by the completely undignifying and unwarranted slander aimed at her, I experienced firsthand the devastating effects of cyberbullying. For those of you who think cyberbullying is a middle school taboo, check out @xavierfession for yourself. In part, the issue is larger than Xavier — virtually every university and many high schools have a host of anonymous Twitter accounts dedicated to make outs, crushes and other promiscuous behavior. But I fervently believe that Xavier is not every university.

Xavier has formed me and many other students into active and engaged citizens. For this reason, I can’t stand by and simply accept tweets about sex outside Currito, advocating for “strip clubs closer to campus” and calling the soccer team “a bunch of fags who can’t get laid.” And despite the subtle note at the top of the page denouncing affiliation, the trademarked Xavier logo on the background of the page visually suggests some correlation. Concerned students brought the account to the attention of the Director of Student Integrity who shared that there is no action the university can take unless they knew the person behind the account.

From my understanding, every possible action has been taken on the university’s part. They have assured affected students that they are continuing to seek out the person(s) responsible. I applaud the Administration’s quick, thorough and supportive response and concern for student integrity.

The job now is on us students. I’m often frustrated by the number of fellow students I bring @xavierfession up to who are indifferent about the account, as if they assume justice will somehow be served down the road. But by whom? The administration at Xavier is aware of the account, and because of the individual or group’s right to publish whatever they’d like on Twitter (granted by our Constitution), there’s nothing they or any other higher power can do — and it shouldn’t be their job anyway.

And as much as I’d like to hope that the originator of the account is reading this article, the reality of it causing him or her to deeply question his or her motives is very unlikely. It is our responsibility as Xavier students, men and women for and with others, to stand up against this injustice and others like it. Far too much time, energy, money and passion at Xavier is poured into the fight for peace and justice for students to remain apathetic about this.

Unfollow the account and don’t give it any more of your attention. Standing up against it is so easy. Let’s instead focus our attention on building one another up and living lives that celebrate and honor humanity.

-Jimmy McLean, ‘14