ASI nixes message board

Greg Kane

Associated Students, Inc., abruptly shut down a message board earlier in the semester used by students to post comments on professors and courses after slanderous remarks were posted about a Sacramento State professor.

Aspect, a message board which had been set up on the ASI Web site, was shut down until changes could be made after the incident with the unidentified professor, said ASI executive director Carol Ackerson.

There had already been concerns about the board, which had no way of monitoring whether posters were actually Sac State students or simply fooling around on the site.

“It was sort of cumulative,” Ackerson said. “We had concerns about the way it was set up. I think we were heading in that direction [of shutting it down], because there really were concerns.”

Details of the incident are not being revealed, but Faculty Senate Chair Bob Buckley compared it to having a Web site which allows people to post messages about students, only to have an anonymous poster accuse one of the students of date rape.

“What would you do if it was right there on the Web site, and you didn?t even know who did it?” Buckley said. “You?d feel like you?ve been raped [yourself].”

The message board has been shut down until ASI can find a way to better monitor who and what is being posted on the board, which will likely take the rest of the semester, Ackerson said. It has been used by students in the past, but usually only at the beginning and the end of the semester, when students are registering for classes.

“I think that use was optimal for the first couple of weeks, then at the end of the semester when students start making comments about classes,” Ackerson said. “It?s one of those programs that uses peak utilization times.”

Ackerson said ASI will use a combination of students and faculty in order to target what changes need to be made to the message board.

“We have a group from computer classes that?ll be looking at some of the technical issues, and we?ll be looking at some broader issues,” Ackerson said.

It is not clear whether a lawsuit will stem from the incident with the professor, Buckley said. The professor saw the slanderous remarks on the board and contacted ASI, resulting in the site being shut down.

“There was an alarm that went off,” Buckley said. “They [ASI] were blown away by what was on there.”

Buckley said he hopes there is a way to get the message board up and running again without faculty worrying about situations like this taking place. The main concern is to make sure the comments are monitored, and also that only Sac State students can post comments.

“It?s just to make sure that this minority that want to get [improper comments] posted don?t get away with it,” Buckley said.