These are our confessions
Danny Schmidt, Editor-in-Chief and Jeanette Genson, Assistant Scene Editor - February 6, 2013
Of the 555 Twitter followers, and the 3,320 ‘likes’ on Facebook, no more than eight people know who started Central Washington Confessions, according to the creator.
The creator, who is a Central Washington University student, prefers to remain anonymous. They made the Facebook page on Sunday night, Jan. 27, and got thousands of ‘likes’ within days, and the news of the page seemed to take over the campus.
“I saw a bunch of different ones for different universities in Washington,” the creator said through a Facebook chat. “I was waiting for one to be made for CWU, but no one was making one, so I just took matters into my own hands.”
The creator modeled the page after Western Washington Confessions, which had about 3,000 ‘likes’ when the Central edition was made. The Twitter was made shortly after.
The site operates using SurveyMonkey, an anonymous survey website. Anyone can visit the confessions Facebook page and submit a confession by clicking the link in the ‘About’ section.
Since all of the confessions are anonymous, the page has its fair share of racy posts involving students and the campus.
Some posts involve relations between RAs and residents, professors and students, as well as sexual activities in academic buildings. (Some include two or more people, some are a solo act.)
“I thought that was a big ‘no,’ because I know RA’s aren’t supposed to mingle with their residents,” sophomore business major Vincent Langsy said. “That just shows how our housing is run -- not very well.”
Once the page went live, the creator ‘liked’ CWU’s Facebook page and also had a female peer spread the word.
The buzz quickly spread from classrooms, to residence halls, to the SURC, and everywhere in between.
Originally, four people ran the page, but it caused too much confusion, according to the creator.
“We all decided as a group that it would be easier if they stepped down,” the creator said. “I trust all of them and I have complete faith that they will keep my identity a secret.”
Initially the page’s profile picture was the Central Wildcat logo, but the creator took it down after being contacted by Central’s public affairs department.
“We try to make sure our own site is clearly identified as the only site, and try to control our trademark,” Director of Public Affairs Linda Schactler said. “Those are our two highest priorities.”
Schactler said the main concern is the credibility and the reputation of the university.
Students seem to be divided about the page. Richard Carter, a freshman exercise science major, sees both sides of the argument.
“I thought it was pretty graphic,” Carter said. “I felt like it painted a lot of mental pictures that kind of didn’t need to be painted, and some that did need to be painted.”
Senior law and justice major Michael Smith said he doesn’t think the page will do the university any good.
“I think it’s kind of degrading to the university and bringing the university down,” Smith said. “If you’re trying to come to the university and you see this stuff, parents-wise, they’re saying, ‘I don’t want my child to go to that university.’ It’s just bad publicity for the school, honestly.”
Hailey Baar, a senior psychology and sociology major, does not think the page puts a positive light on the university and thinks the page should be taken down.
“It’s not really showing too much class for Central,” Baar said. “All in all I would say yes, it’s funny, but not worth the reputation.”
Other Washington state universities have participated in this recent trend, such as the University of Washington, Washington State University and Western Washington University.
Only days after the page launched, the creator said he received a threatening message that read, “We know who you are and we’re deciding how we should conduct our investigation to make sure you are removed from our campus and that this page gets shut down. You will be expelled and sued for defamation. I suggest you delete this Facebook page and avoid a long and regretful process. I’m saying this because I know you and I want to protect you. I hope you listen to me.”
The creator said they were freaked out upon seeing the threat, but felt that Central’s administration would have contacted them in a more professional manner. Nothing has come of the threat so far.
Schactler said she didn’t know about the threat, and said the only thing she can worry about is making it clear what is an authorized Central website and what isn’t.
She said she frequently finds Facebook pages that misrepresent the university.
“I don’t think the goal of this particular site is accuracy or education,” Schactler said. “We realize we cannot police the internet.”
Due to the overflow of responses the creator has received, which have approached 900, the site has turned out to be more time consuming than they originally anticipated.
The creator said they have to turn down almost half of the confessions due to them being overwhelmingly negative or appearing to be dramatically false.
“I have seen some really negative things about friends that I obviously didn’t post to the page,” the creator said. “I feel as though students forget that I’m also a student at Central.”
The creator was surprised to hear about professors talking about the page, because they didn’t expect the page to grow as quickly as it did.
The creator isn’t worried about Central’s reputation being tainted, because the page only represents a small percentage of students.
“There are students who do go crazy and party a lot, and have a lot of sex, and drink a lot, as seen on this page,” the creator said. “But there are also a lot of students who work hard in school and don’t party at all. But those students aren’t portrayed as well, because there really is no big confession to come out of that.”