The gossip Web site JuicyCampus.com is here to stay and should remain uncensored, creator Matt Ivester said during a lecture at Georgetown Tuesday night.
In a tense auditorium filled with Georgetown students, Ivester answered student questions for the first time, responding to the school’s student government leaders who called on administrators to ban Juicy Campus from the university network.
“I view it as a knee-jerk reaction and not necessarily the right one,” Ivester said. “Censorship has never been a part of Juicy Campus. Everyone has an equal voice on Juicy Campus, and if you see something negative, then we encourage you to go on and reply to it.”
Ivester said if Georgetown banned his Web site, it would put the university in the same category as the Chinese government.
“It’s shocking to me that students would be the ones to call for censorship and a ban,” he said. “If it were banned, Juicy Campus would be the first Web site ever banned on a college campus for content, which means that you could go to the sickest porn site, read the most hateful hate speech, but you couldn’t go to JuicyCampus.com. That seems strange to me.”
In February, Pepperdine University’s student government voted 23-5 to block the site from the school network, but administrators did not enact the ban. As of now, there is no word on whether Georgetown will be the first university to ban Juicy Campus altogether from its network.
At GW, Student Association Executive Vice President Kyle Boyer, a junior, said the SA currently does not have any plans to follow in Georgetown’s footsteps.
“I think interest in the site has decreased significantly, especially given the success of the spam effort,” Boyer said, referring to users who flood the site with irrelevant text. “Personally, I don’t want to see SA leaders focus on a Web site, just because there are a lot of more important things that the average GW student has concerns about, like dining, mandatory spending and academic advising, to name a few.”
In an interview with The Hatchet, Ivester said he admires the way many schools have handled requests to ban the site.
“Actually, administrators at numerous top schools have done a great job, in my opinion, of responding to student concerns by saying it’s not their place to ban Juicy Campus,” Ivester said. “Instead, they’ve said that they look at it as an opportunity to educate their students.”
In response to a question posed by a Georgetown student Tuesday regarding the accountability of the Web site’s users, Ivester said Juicy Campus has no plans to stop anonymous posting.
“The reason we give people the option is because we think it’ll allow students to be more honest,” Ivester said. “It’s a space where students can share opinions that may be unpopular without any repercussions. When Juicy Campus was getting started, we contemplated if we wanted to require a dot-edu e-mail address, but ultimately we decided we didn’t want that.”