I probably did some stupid things when I was a college student (according to my wife). Let’s just say I did. I wonder if I would have the good sense to not compound the stupidity by sharing my accomplishments with the rest of the world.
There seem to be case after case in which young people give in to the temptation to “share something stupid”. Here is but another example.
The University of North Dakota has long used the Sioux name as a representation of the university, i.e., “Fighting Sioux”. The mascot issue is the focus of a great controversy here now involving the NCAA. My intent is not to discuss this issue, but I note this situation to set the context for my remarks about student online behavior. For the record, there is no “mascot” (unlike say Florida State), but the name is associated with the athletic teams and does appear on “sports gear”.
Recently, the Gamma Phi Beta sorority had a cowboy-theme party that somehow morphed into a party in which participants dressed as Indian “maidens” and “warriors” with paint, loin cloths, etc. Photos made their way to the web and eventually the story broke in the local paper. Inappropriate anywhere, and certainly inappropriate and damaging within an environment that promotes sensitivity to specific issues of this type.
Given the “affordances” (sorry, I just returned from a conference and while terms such as this typically annoy me, this is a situation in which the term is useful) of social networking opportunities, are such examples unavoidable? I am guessing so. Poor judgment and lack of self control (under the influence) are unavoidable. Combine these realities and this is what you get.
Hold the students responsible? Absolutely! College is about learning to be responsible. You can’t seriously ask to be treated as a responsible adult and not accept the consequences of such a request.
My wife talks to future teachers in her classes about this situation all of the time. The challenge is how to get students to listen.