On Monday May 27, a new Facebook group called ‘Loughborough Rate Your Shag’ was created, with the intention to get Loughborough students naming and rating others in terms of their sexual activities.

Below we have an article written by Marlies Neuner, a student who on seeing the group, commented on its invasion of privacy and stated she had reported the group. The response to her comment was varied, some agreeing with Marlies but many other students attacking her post:

The messages on the ‘Loughborough Rate Your Shag’ page are posted anonymously, however the person that it concerns is named. Some of these messages are positive, whereas some make fun of people’s sexual preferences, practices and characteristics. It is clear that a lot of these entries are fake and submitted by friends of the person they concern as a joke. However, seeing as the person is named and often tagged, the consequences of these posts can be harmful, if a younger sibling or parent was to see the post for example.

Students from other universities, such as York and Warwick quickly set up their own pages, imitating the Loughborough page. Lots of people complained about the vile nature of the page at York, referring to the fact that sexual practices are a private matter and people should not be named and shamed. There is also the fact that what is said on social media sites can be used in court, as seen by the case of Sally Bercow’s tweets about politician Alistair McAlpine. Subsequently, the York version of the page got taken down. The admins of the Warwick group quickly disabled comments so that nobody could complain on their page.

These two events drove me to post the following comment on the Loughborough page:

“Facebook community standards state that "We ask that you refrain from publishing the personal information of others without their consent." I have reported this site because I think, whereas some might think it's just a bit of a laugh, it actually invades people's privacy. I am surprised no one else has complained yet. Just goes to show what kind of people go to Loughborough uni. Numerous students at other unis have already complained on their sites. Just imagine if someone posts a negative comment about you, you are tagged and then your friends and maybe even your family finds out.”

As you can imagine the slandering comments came rushing in. The first person proclaimed that I was clearly bad in bed. Later someone said if I wished to disprove this I could sleep with him. People said that I was probably a virgin or a feminist. Neither of these is something to be ashamed of in my opinion, but the commenters obviously had intended to be hateful. One of the commenters had even recently run for a position on the exec committee. I am glad he didn’t win, because these are not the kind of students I want to be represented by. A youtube video showing someone shouting the word “gay” was also posted as a comment to my message. This just once again shows that people use the word gay in a derogatory manner, which is another thing that saddens me.

Some of my friends started liking my comment and my brother took a screenshot and posted it on his wall saying that he was proud of me for saying what I said. Friends of his from Birmingham University saw it and started debating it amongst one another. They told him to tell me that they were on my side. They called it “Solidarity from Birmingham” and all started liking my comment to show support. My friends started messaging and texting me, asking whether I was alright. I also received messages from people that were equally offended by the page and had also reported it on Facebook, as well as reporting it to the university.

This incident has taught me two very separate lessons.

Firstly, some students think that this page is “just a bit of fun” and have no issues with calling someone a virgin, feminist or a kill joy because they think other wise. It’s times like these when I am almost ashamed to be a Loughborough student. I am not someone who shies away from a bit of banter. I even thought the “Spotted Loughborough” page was fun until it all went a bit too far. However, there are certain things I deem inappropriate and this is one of them.

Secondly, I am grateful for the support from my York friends, Birmingham students I have never met before and even a few Loughborough students. This shows me that there are some decent people out there, even if today has made me wonder what some people are doing at university. Hours after the first York page was removed a new one cropped up, which infuriated me. However, it turned out to be someone asking people to send in pictures of carpets (shags) and to rate them. Looking at the comments accompanying the pictures this site is clearly making fun of the events earlier in the day. I appreciate the humour on this page because it is harmless.

What is your response to this article and the Facebook page in question? Label appreciates all comments and opinions, but any that are deemed overly offensive or harmful to other students will be removed.

To read more comment pieces from students click here.


Comments are closed.