The Office of Multicultural Enrichment is fighting one of the most powerful forces in the history of civilization: the Internet.
The “Kick the Yik” campaign was launched by OME in response to the abundance of racist, sexist and offensive yaks on the controversial app. They are encouraging students to delete the app from their phones.
The idea is that there is always going to be inappropriate and offensive yaks posted, and the posters are only looking for a reaction. So by deleting the app, they are eliminating the number of people on the app reacting.
The Optimist Editorial Board has split opinions on this campaign.
Half of us believe anonymity is a necessary evil created by the Internet and has been a controversy online long before smart phones and apps even existed. Internet trolls and cowards that hide behind the keyboard are something every website with user features have to deal with. You can be anonymous anywhere – well, unless you’re conscious of your IP address, but that’s for a different editorial.
OME’s efforts seem futile. While keeping people off the app will keep them from being offended, the same can be said for the rest of the Internet. Are there tweets or Facebook posts that upset them? Probably, but they’re most likely not going to delete those apps.
While the other half of our board thinks OME is approaching the issue with rational and reasonable expectations, they aren’t expecting the bad yaks to go away. They aren’t fighting the yakkers with IP address hunts or campus policy changes like the administration has done in the past with anonymous Twitter accounts.
They are passively suggesting students just step away from the ugly conversations.
This makes sense, especially for students who are upset by the yaks. It only makes sense that they realize they don’t have to be on the app if it’s going to upset them.
While this may bother some, knowing the sexist and the hateful yaks are still happening, they can feel good about reducing the size of the audience it reaches and the likeliness of the bad yaks to get a response.
So whether you choose to Kick the Yik or not, we are going to live the rest of our lives in a world that has more freedom of speech, and especially press (i.e. self-publication) than any generation preceding us.
Deleting the app may be a reasonable temporary solution for protecting the ACU community, but it’s only ignoring the fact that anonymity and cyberbullying are here for the long haul.