Yik Yak Yaks About Bullying

By Johanna Gross

    On March 9, the student body of Salem College began the process of voting for the new Student Government Association (SGA) board. Within 24 hours, quorum was reached. The following day, March 11, the new officers were announced.

    Almost immediately after the email was sent to Salem students, people took to the internet to express their feelings. Specifically, many students took to Yik Yak, an iOS and Android app that allows people to make anonymous posts, visible only to those within a five mile radius of the user. Many expressed their anger with the election results. Posts criticized the new board  of mostly people of color after elections results were announced. The target of several antagonistic posts was SGA President-elect Misbah Khan and the first Muslim student to ever hold her future office.

    According to screenshots of the app, Khan ran into the square and announced that she was the new President. Some students defended Khan’s actions. One poster admitted that Misbah was not their choice but still wished her well. However, many of the posts did make racist remarks suggesting that the officers only received their positions due to their race or faith.

    However, the fiasco did not stop there. One poster chose the handle “SCalovini,” impersonating Dean Susan Calovini on the app.     

  After a couple of days, many moved on from the fiasco. However, the Scorpions, a secret organization on campus, later wrote an open letter to the Salem community and addressed many of what had happened on Yik Yak. They encouraged the student body to voice their discontentment, but reminded the student body that any “vindictive language” is cyberbullying and against Salem’s honor code. Furthermore, they reminded the community that such remarks could fall under North Carolina’s cyberstalking laws with Class 1 misdemeanors as consequences.

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