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Rate Your Shag is cruel, sadistic and has no place at university

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Rate Your ShagAs a student at the University of Southampton I first noticed the ‘Southampton University: Rate Your Shag’ page as many of my friends started to like the page, thus it appeared on my news feed. The likes increased at a scarily fast pace with it reaching just shy of 500 likes in only a few hours.

My initial reaction to the page was that the culprits had gone one step too far. This seemed to me to be a step up from a recently started Facebook page named ‘Southampton University: Tell Him/Her’, which still, in its concept, could go positively or negatively, making me feel slightly unnerved by it’s possibilities.

Considering this, when I saw some of my friends names being brandished across this new ‘Rate Your Shag’ page I felt disgust mixed with worry. I worried for the people being named and shamed (or being put on a pedestal for their ‘stallion-like’ abilities). Something needed to be done about it, and fast.

The University of Southampton's student media got on the case while students grouped together to report the group to Facebook. The page sparked a lively discussion in the University of Southampton’s Union Council Facebook group which in turn led to Sabbatical awareness as it raised concerns for students welfare.

The Soton Tab and The Wessex Scene published articles claiming that this group was 'a step too far' and it recieved lots of attention from students across the university. More and more students came on board to get the page shut down. Through this sort of exposure the page was taken down from Facebook. Whether it was due to the numerous reports, or through the admins of the vulgar page, is unknown.

Regardless, through the power of the student voice we managed to overcome what could have developed into a nasty, malicious outlet for abuse towards students. David Gilani, VP Communications and President Elect of SUSU (University of Southampton’s Student’s Union) said: "I'm proud to say that the action began when a single student spoke up about her distain for the page, which prompted dozens to follow her. This was developed by student media who furthered the debate and brought the issue to thousands of our students."

This is a perfect example of the power that student media has, and demonstrates a way in which we can use it for the wellbeing of students. 

Some students might be wondering why a group on a social media site has caused such a stir within the Students' Union and also for the University itself. David Gilani went on the explain why it caused such alarm: "For us the primary concern was student welfare, as the page was already becoming a platform for essentially bullying our students. There's also reputation to consider. Young people might be put off from coming to University because of the culture these groups can breed."

University of Southampton’s case is one of many across the country, with the likes of Loughborough University’s page of a similar vein reaching 2,000 likes in a few days.

Comment FacebookFinal year English and Philosophy student Alexander Brown wrote a comment on the wall of the Facebook page during it's early stages. Here is what he had to say about the whole ordeal: “I had a comment get 50 likes and they deleted it. I'm not annoyed that they deleted my rise to internet fame, but rather upset they thought the page was ok.

"I think people should be free have fun at university without a page designed to degrade them through a desperate attempt to garner likes. It was cruel, sexist, and has no place at this university.”

It appears as thought the vast majority of students find these pages disgusting and want them to stop, which does make me wonder what sort of people feel it is right to make such pages in the first place. Overall I believe the students at University of Southampton have demonstrated a level of humility and shown respect for the wellbeing of students. Why should a few sadistic, cruel, bullies get away with embarrassing and, potentially, isolating students?

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