Colgate Faculty Take the High Road With Yik Yak

Colgate Faculty Take the High Road With Yik Yak

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The anonymity of the social media platform Yik Yak attracts its share of users, including people that make unkind remarks or much worse. As the fall semester comes to an end, students have been taking to the site in great numbers and leaving comments, sometimes attacking professors by name.

Faculty members are unhappy with the site and aren’t always sure how best to respond. At Colgate University, professors at the Hamilton, New York, institution have decided to fight back, but with civility and professionalism. And, in a bid to change the atmosphere at the “notoriously negative mobile application,” Colgate faculty have opted for full disclosure by leaving their names with each post.

“I thought that if there was a more coordinated effort, especially at the end of the semester, it could bring a more positive vibe to the campus,” stated Geoff Holm, associate professor of biology. Holm gave credit to his biology colleague Prof. Eddie Watkins with suggesting that posters identify themselves.

Through last Friday, more than 50 Colgate professors have posted messages to Yik Yak. Those message include the silly as well as the uplifting, with professors encouraging students to get enough sleep and to have some fun.

A sample of the messages left include:

Prof. Woods: “Thanks to the students at Colgate for making my job fun. I’m sorry I can’t always return the favor, but you know I love ya.”

Marlowe: “Saw a student helping an elderly man dig out his car the other day. You guys are awesome”

Prof. Metzler: “While it’s impossible to do everything you need to do and get sleep, take it from someone with a seven-week old; sleep is important for brain function…wishing I got more of it!”

Some of the posts received much positive feedback from students, including a few that have at least 100 up votes. Up votes also make those posts “hot” and are read more often.

A few students have been appreciative of the positive flow from faculty. One student, although remaining anonymous said, “To all of the professors, thank you. What a wonderful, happy thing to wake up to in the morning. You all made my and many other students’ days.”

The positivity appears to have spread to student users even if they insist on maintaining their anonymity. Said one student on Monday, “YOU CAN DO IT. Yall are capable and smart. Go slay finals.”

Another student begged, “Dear professors, I understand being on the lookout for cheating, but sometimes the stares make my test anxiety worse.”

Yik Yak App

Yik Yak is a downloadable app and one favored by college students. The app is set up to encourage traffic from specific colleges and universities, but blocks most primary and secondary school participation. Still, some schools have learned about bullying and are carefully monitoring activity. On occasion, a threatening message has resulted in schools instituting a lockdown or sending messages to parents warning them of the threat.

On Monday, Providence High School in Charlotte, NC, notified parents about threatening messages received over the weekend. A spokesperson for the Charlotte Mecklenburg schools said that attendance was light.

See AlsoYik Yak App Stirs Controversy

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