In the past several months, we’ve spent hours scanning Yik Yak for positive, comical Yaks to feature on the editorial page.
Us editors have seen good, pure comedy, as well as comments we could only hope came from somewhere outside the ACU community.
This past week, during Chapel’s celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., was one of the latter situations.
Negative Yaks targeted the black population of ACU and Chapel’s attempt to honor black history. Several students related Chapel to recruitment for the Black Panthers, claimed that black people already had enough in society (ie. The presidency of the United States) and did not need this time in Chapel, and yakked offensive racial expletives.
As a publication representing the student body, we in no way agree with these racist Yaks. And, as a publication serving the student body, we are calling you to hold each other to a higher standard.
At the beginning of the school year, we featured two letters to the editor arguing for and against our decision to publish Yik Yaks.
In his argument against Yaks, Jake Hall, senior education major from Springtown, said, “(The Yaks) are deadly to our atmosphere here, and if there’s anything I can say about the Optimist, it’s that you all have so much power when it comes to shaping the atmosphere on campus”¦more than you may realize.”
And while we continued to publish Yaks after Hall’s dissent, we do believe in the power of the Optimist, and are advocating for a change.
In the editorial explaining our use of Yaks, we provided three guidelines detailing our decision:
- To remind users just how far their messages may reach.
- To listen and be representative of all students on campus; the good, bad or ugly.
- To transform the social platform into a place where more clean, humorous or constructive posts make their way to the top of the feed.
So, to the people who posted those degrading Yaks:
- Classes are talking about your statements; offices are wondering how to reconcile the campus. Look and see how far your message has reached. Was it the message you wanted?
- You were heard, but your words were not appreciated. They did not represent the majority of the student body.
- Comments like these will never make their way to the top of the feed at the hands of our publication.