Confession page sparks debate

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Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo

The Confessions of a Southern Miss Student Facebook page exploded over winter break.

This page has become very popular and is still growing with more than 2,500 followers. The confession page gives Southern Miss students a place to share their deepest secrets and desires anonymously.

I have seen just about everything on this page. From confessions about one-night stands to complaints about loitering and even people reaching out for help with serious issues like harassment and eating disorders. This confession page has gained so much popularity that after being inactive for almost 24 hours, a new page was created because many people wanted it back.

“Confessions of a Southern Miss Student is an interesting page, something I haven’t seen in regards to Southern anywhere else,” said John Davenport, a freshman exercise science major.

“I know other schools like Ole Miss have some quirky Twitter pages, so I think it’s a fun idea to have a laid back page about Southern [Miss]. I don’t think it’s meant to be taken very seriously, and when that’s how it’s run, I think the page is a lot of fun.”

Senior English major Alison Beeson likes the support this page offers to the student body.

“Some of the things being said, especially the supportive comments on the binge eater’s confession and the responses to whether or not there are any men who like big girls, seem to be pretty nice,” Beeson said.

“Anonymity does tend to make people both braver and more ruthless, however, so I’m a little worried about where some people may take it,” she said.

The confession page has also helped people feel like part of the Southern Miss community.

“I think the page is a good thing because hearing some of the secrets from the student body helps us all relate to each other in a way,” said Rebecca Traylor, a senior theatre design major. “I mean, we probably all think that we do weird things individually, but now we can read these confessions and think, ‘Oh, there are people on this campus who are even weirder than I am.’”

While I admit this page has done some good, it looks like it is spreading more trash than anything else. One complaint made about the page is its obvious Greek bias. In the about section of the page, followers are told not to make any confessions saying negative things about Greek life. This is repeated again once students are directed to the Google doc where confessions are submitted.
The submission form said:

“If your confession is just hating on the Greek system, please keep it to yourself. Greek people don’t walk around hating on non-Greeks. Let’s just keep it fair.”

I personally know a few non-Greeks who said this is definitely not true, so how exactly can that be considered fair? One confession said non-Greeks were just jealous of those who weren’t. Sounds like hating on non-Greeks to me.

Even people in the Greek system feel this bias is not fair.

“I think allowing it to become Greek propaganda is a mistake,” said Tanner Shaw, a junior accounting and finance double major. “I am a Greek student myself, and I would prefer it if submissions that are obviously intended to promote a specific Greek organization were thrown out.”

Some students are also worried about how this page will make the university look to students who don’t actually go to Southern Miss. While the page is intended for USM students, any Facebook user can like this page. This is where the real danger lies.
Bruce Kirk, a new student to USM this semester who transferred from Jones County Junior College, said this page could really give the school a bad reputation.

“I think it started off as a cool idea and maybe had different intentions in the beginning, but I’ve seen a lot of vulgar confessions, mainly about sex, and I feel its showing the negative side of the campus and its students,” said Kirk, a junior accounting major.
“If someone has never been to our campus before, they might think it’s just a party school and the students don’t take their education seriously. It scares me that there might be a bunch of STDs going around,” he said.

“No disrespect to those running the page or anyone posting but I would never want a prospective student to see this page and not attend USM because of things said on this page or fear of being posted about,” said Jeffrey George, a sophomore political science major.

As with anything on social media, some students think the page should not be used as anyone’s personal diary, but rather that people should deal with their problems on their own.

“Keep your personal business to yourself,” said Abbi Thomas, a sophomore art major. “Don’t publicize it to the entire web and potential students who would want to come to USM.”

Still, is it really that bad? Junior finance major Bradley Floore doesn’t believe so.

“When you give students the opportunity to say whatever they want without fear of judgment or embarrassment, you are going to be exposed to more than a few juvenile posts, but overall I think the page is harmless and at times, even informative,” Floore said.
While Floore may see this page as harmless, some feel like this is a horrible thing to happen to the university.

“The garbage posted on there now is pointless and sometimes even harmful,” said Amy Brogan, a junior sociology major.

“I saw one post suggesting that our football team is purposefully spreading herpes around campus. That could cause extreme damage to our school and football team’s reputation,” Brogan said.

“Unless the content of the page changes drastically I don’t see any reason why it should continue to exist.”

Denman Mims, a sophomore political science major compared the entertainment value of the confessions page to that of a “Jersey Shore” episode. However, Mims can’t help but continue to follow the page.

“I can’t name a single student, myself included, who does not feel some degree of guilty pleasure when reading the material,” Mims said.

So should we really be so worried about this page? Kinsey Eiland, a junior hotel, restaurant and tourism management major, doesn’t think this is anything more than just a fad.

“It’s just a Facebook page so it’ll probably be really popular for a little bit then people will move on like they always do,” Eiland said.
Maybe we are all taking this Facebook page just a bit too seriously. I saw some very nasty remarks break out over something like tipping in restaurants. Really, guys? Calm down. The confessions page could be adding more stress to your life that you don’t need.
Listen to a great piece of advice from junior marketing major Ashley Grillot.

“In the end, it’s an extremely entertaining page that let’s students say whatever they want without being judged. As long as the posts stay away from negativity and bullying, I approve,” Grillot said.