During last night’s Associated Students Senate meeting, various campus organizations came forward in public forum to address the recent controversy surrounding the UCSB Confessions and UCSB Hook-Ups Facebook pages.
Two weeks ago, A.S. Senate passed a resolution calling for the UCSB administration to moderate and potentially ban the two popular Facebook pages on the grounds that the pages’ user-submitted content promotes hate speech. While campus organizations such as Take Back the Night and Womyn’s Commission supported the resolution, College Republicans and Campus Democrats argued that it violated First Amendment rights.
Co-chair of Take Back the Night Alex Moore said he will be writing a letter to Facebook about the pages’ policy violations.
“[This content] graphically depicted and celebrated instances of rape,” Moore said. “While UCSB Hook-Ups has the right to free speech, Facebook as a service and a business and a private entity has the right to moderate content on their site in order to make this website more attractive to a majority of people.”
According to College Republicans President Chris Babadjanian, by trying to restrict free-speech through censorship of UCSB Hook-Ups, A.S. is over-stepping boundaries.
“We are just creating a precedent for more censorship. I think we are lying to ourselves by saying we create a safer environment by taking this off or changing the name,” Babadjanian said.
According to Campus Democrats Communications Director Simoné Rivadeneira, though the page may be offensive, it is in students’ best interests to allow the site’s continuation of free speech.
“While no survivor of sexual assault should have to relive the trauma through Facebook,” Rivadeneira said, “it would be inappropriate to ask them to remove them from a public forum.”
A version of this article appeared on page 5 of February 28th, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus.
Photo by William Zhou of the Daily Nexus.