Out-of-Control Gossip on Juicy Campus Web Site

Recognizing the site's legal advantages, New Jersey has taken a different tack, investigating JuicyCampus.com for possible violation of the state's Consumer Fraud Act. The allegation, as reported by ABCNews.com earlier this year, is that the site said it prohibits offensive and abusive material but fails to enforce the restrictions.

Juicy Campus' video blog, according to an ABC "20/20" story in May, questioned how the state can accuse a Web site of consumer fraud when it isn't a store, and the people on the site aren't buying anything.

Not Just About Reputation

Several student governments including those at Pepperdine, Princeton and the University of Florida have considered banning JuicyCampus.com, although, as ABCNews.com also reported, legal experts and advocates say the site has constitutional liberties on its side.

Back in Syracuse, rumors that it will be banned from campus Internet providers have been circulating all week. University officials declined a request to be interviewed by ABC News on Campus.

Whatever the outcome, some observers are bracing for more fallout.

Chris Burke, an attorney with Syracuse University Student Legal Services for 10 years, said he hasn't seen many students come in with Internet complaints, at least not yet.

"Within the past five years I'd say it's grown," he said. "Not as many as you would think because it's still new so people aren't quite sure how to respond. But if there's this now anonymous Web site where people can post these anonymous things and say any silly, foul or spiteful thing they want against people, well, I suspect I'm going to be seeing more of it more often."

It's Not a Good Idea

Either way, whether you're on the giving or receiving end, leaving too much information online is usually a bad idea, he said.

"If your mother wouldn't want you to do it, then don't do it, you know?" Burke said. "You're surrendering this privacy that's a concept that people of my age have a difficulty grasping -- how willing young people are to just forsake this privacy. You put that stuff on there, it's going to stay forever so you better be darn careful of what's on there and how you want to handle it after."

Syracuse students Halligan and Morrison hope students eventually get bored with the site, although the site's apparent growth suggests otherwise.

"I just think that people need to relax, look at themselves in the mirror, and realize how incredibly stupid they are [for using the site]," Morrison said. "Come on, we're adults."

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