Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Last Monday, a resolution was introduced in the Student Government Association (SGA) regarding the Yik Yak anonymous gossip and social messaging app. The app has gained popularity in recent months and, at times, has been used to promote hate speech and discriminatory sentiments towards specific individuals and groups at Emory. SGA Resolution 48sl03 calls for the Emory community to discontinue its use of the app through a university-wide Yik Yak ban across all Emory wireless networks. We recognize that the issue has been highly debated, and that the Emory College student population is divided on this issue.

As of Wednesday night, the legislative body of the 59th College Council has voted to stand in full support of SGA on the issue of urging Emory University’s Libraries and Information Technology Services to disable the usage of Yik Yak on Emory’s networks. We as a Council believe that concrete steps must be taken to promote the safe and inclusive community we have committed ourselves to uphold. Yik Yak has already proven itself to be in direct conflict with the Emory University Discriminatory Harassment Policy (Policy 1.3.2). While College Council recognizes that not all posts on Yik Yak are discriminatory or hateful, it is unacceptable for the university to provide a vehicle for such speech, given the nature of Emory’s Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment policies. Spaces, whether physical or virtual, that are consistently misused to promote hate speech, must be acknowledged and rejected by the University.

The purpose of this resolution is not to restrict Emory students from using Yik Yak but rather to encourage the University to uphold its values set forth in Policy 1.3.2, by condemning hate speech and restricting Yik Yak usage through Emory University resources, including EmoryUnplugged.

We call on SGA to vote in favor of Resolution 48sl03 at their meeting on Monday, which is open to members of the Emory community who would like to share their opinions on the matter.

The above letter represents the majority opinion of the 59th College Council.