Photo Source: Phillip Jeffrey (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
According to campus newspaper The Ubyssey, Twitter account @UBCDimeWatch was deleted yesterday, after allegations were made against student athletes regarding their involvement with the Twitter feed and its corresponding website.
The Twitter account, said to contain non-consensual photos of and suggestive comments about UBC’s “dimes” – (attractive women worthy of top scores on the infamous ten-point scale,) was discovered by the UBC Athletics department on Tuesday night, after a tweet by UBC Insiders editor revealed that the domain name thedimewatch.com was registered to varsity hockey player Ben Schmidt. The website, which has now been made private, appears linked to the Twitter account. According to Schmidt, who has now also made his personal Twitter private, he made the site for a friend.
The evidence does seem to suggest, however, that a number of athletes, notably within the men’s hockey team, have something to do with the anonymous account. UBC Athletics called for an emergency meeting with these athletes on Wednesday, and is currently investigating the incident. UBC Director of Public Affairs Lucie MacNeill discloses that “there was some concern expressed to us,” but according to the Ubyssey, notes that “it is not UBC’s place to uncover the identity of the people behind the anonymous account.”
Student athletes have been central to many conversations regarding social media use. The last thing universities want is for the postings of their young ambassadors to poison their own reputation, and especially not that of the team or the school. While some schools have already instilled social media policies, UBC is currently in the process of developing one, in response to this incident.
A few commenters to the UBC Insiders’ article expressed their discomfort with the writer’s slant, a few attempting to clarify that the Twitter account was meant to be a satirical and humorous account, and others offended by the suggestions made that the opinions of the Twitter account reflected those of all student athletes.
Unfortunately, as we have seen time and time again, the Internet is an unforgiving place. It cares not for your intentions, and simply places your words on display at face value, often with no context. It has not been confirmed whether or not the account did have anything to do with the athletes in question, nor whether it was meant as a humorous account. However, to the outside world, it does not really matter. What third parties have observed, and can (and will) draw conclusions from is that a lewd Twitter account objectifying women has been linked to UBC, and its student athletes.
Are a few laughs worth all this fuss? Do we, capable young adults, really need someone to stand over our shoulder and police what we say and tweet?
Instead of looking out for dimes, perhaps what we need to do is begin evaluating our social media practices and ourselves in search of how we can make real change.