On April 21 at 9:59 p.m., the Wellesley Confessions Facebook page, where students can anonymously post complaints, compliments, questions and more, posted that it would no longer be active. In a final post to the page, the page’s anonymous administrator stated, “This page was created with the intention of allowing students to share their experiences and to form a community. Unfortunately, the ratio of negative confessions to positive confessions is unbalanced and running this page has gone from excitement to misery.”
Wellesley Confessions is one of many Facebook groups run by Wellesley students. In particular, it was a page where students got to anonymously post their thoughts about Wellesley College and about their experiences here. Posts ranged from “I think my friend is using me for my money….Should I confront her??” to “I’m in my first year, and I am so lonely. Every one, it seems, has a core group of friends they can go to.” Each “confession” was posted individually, so students could comment on a confession if they wished. If a person wished to post a confession in the page, they must fill out a Google form that was found at the top of the page. However, the admin reserved the right to not post “potentially triggering confessions without content and trigger warnings.”
Student reactions to the shutdown of the page were immediate, visceral and mixed. Inga Piotrowska ’20 responded to the admin’s comments on the shutdown of the page, commenting on the post that “it is much easier for people to share positive comments in person. It is much harder to share negative feelings towards the school without being labeled as ‘privileged’ and hated on campus.” However, another commenter on the post, Vienna Thomas ’20, felt that Wellesley Confessions “was a privately-run page and the owner of the page had every right to stop maintaining it.”
Since Wellesley Confessions was a page that was visible to the public, students have brought up the concern that prospective students will see the disproportionate amount of negative posts about Wellesley College and decide not to enroll. Kaila Webb ’20 recalled, “A prospie messaged me that looking at Wellesley Confessions posts made them regret even applying to the school. This was after they had already spent the weekend with me and left excited about their acceptance.” However, many students feel as though pages such as Wellesley Confessions serve as a platform to showcase Wellesley for what it really is. “People deserve to see both the good and the bad. Other schools have confessions pages, we should too,” Thomas commented. “It’s reflective of the lack of communication between student groups on Wellesley campus that these issues are so frequently brought up once there is a platform where anonymity is guaranteed.”
Another Wellesley-related Facebook page that has also been experiencing upheaval over its posts is the “Wellesley Memes For Grade Deflated Feminist Teens” page. This closed group is used as a platform for students to post about their experiences at Wellesley through memes, which aredefined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as“amusing or interesting items (such as captioned pictures or videos) or genre of items that is spread widely online especially through social media.” Memes on the page have covered a wide variety of Wellesley life, from the frequent delays of the Peter Pan bus to stress culture at Wellesley. In light of the controversial Wellesley College Government elections, memes related to the elections were taken down without warning. Subsequently, page admin Zoë Wiles ’20 posted “We have taken down memes that are related to the elections because want this group to stay neutral and fun.” Another admin, Stephanie Hsu ‘20, added in an interview, “We just want the meme page to be totally unbiased, especially since a lot of the memes that were being made were about polarizing issues on campus…the group is a place where we want people to have fun and we don’t want people to feel attacked.”
Frequent meme contributor Dominiki Kurz ’20 disagreed with the admin, stating, “I would not have minded the ban had it been communicated…there are much more serious matters and [the ban] is low effort, but I would prefer a simple discussion or reaching out instead of doing something without discussing the majority of the student body.” Furthermore, Kurz claimed that there were still memes endorsing candidates on the page, adding, “I do not understand how you can claim to delete memes for neutrality on CG elections but there are memes on the meme page right now endorsing CGP candidates that are still on [the page].”
Despite these recent developments in the Wellesley Confessions page and the Wellesley Memes page, there are several other pages associated with the Wellesley community that continue to further Wellesley’s vibrant online culture. These include pages such as “Wellesley memes don’t care about ur yt guilt poc teens,” “Overheard at Wellesley College” and “Wellesley Places I’ve Cried.” For now, it remains to be seen whether other Wellesley Facebook pages will shut down or edit student posts for fear of perpetuating negativity and controversy about the College.