FAMU blog for news or gossip?

Throughout the last couple of months the University has been buzzing with talk concerning a gossip Web log geared toward FAMU students.

Some people say it just tells the truth about well-known students and organizations while others believe it is a ridiculous site giving people bad reputations.

Are students abusing the right to the freedom of speech is a question many are asking on ‘The Hill.’

There have been numerous comments made on this blog page, ranging from topics such as campaign elections and sororities to individual comments about students’ issues or personal secrets.

Delta Sigma Theta president Tiffany Williams, 23, said her sorority was shocked to discover it was mentioned on the Web site.

“I was surprised to see that someone felt it necessary to make negative comments about our organization,” said the fifth-year MBA student from Hattiesburg, Miss. “There is nothing wrong with healthy criticism. However, some of the comments (on the blogspot) are ridiculous.”

When students’ names are used negatively, issues of libel and slander may come in to play.

According to Deputy Sheriff Lori Johnson, libel is defined as a written statement that is untrue about a person and could ruin the reputation of that individual. Slander is similar, but it is spoken as opposed to written.

Henry Hunter, a lawyer in the Tallahassee area, said the consequences could lead to injunction, when the court orders that the site be removed and never restored. In addition, individuals or groups who lost jobs or had their credibility defamed by false statements on the Web site could sue for libel.

Some students believe the blog spot provides more information than The Famuan.

Aerial Smith, 20, a second-year engineering student from Montgomery, said, “The blog spot offers interesting information that would not ordinarily be reported in The Famuan.”

Demetria Boyd, 21, a third-year pharmacy student from Brooklyn, N.Y., agrees with Smith.

“I did not like the blog spot page at first because all it talked about was negative issues that FAMU was facing and downgrading the school, but now it focuses on everything around campus,” she said. “I like to view the page to get information.” Other students, such as Ursula James, said the blog spot page is, “ridiculous and should be banned.”Williams agreed.

“(The blog spot page) needs to be removed,” she said. “I believe that it does more harm, because of its content, than good.”

The Web site, compared to when it first began, has positive events on it such as basketball game highlights, updates on royal court activity, suggestions for improvements in financial aid, links to sites that could help college students and information for events such as last week’s student rally in protest to recent University issues.

Dana Dobo, 20, a second-year business administration student from Houston, would like to see students become more proactive in the decision making on campus.

“The only weak point the blog spot has is that many students are expressing their thoughts and concerns on the page but are not taking action outside the Web page,” Dobo said. “Talking and writing concerns to each other will not change anything.” Recently, the blogspot was closed because of allegations of a pending lawsuit. However, the site has reappeared with a new address.

Previously posted blogs and voice comments are still posted. To find out more about the blog site log onto http://www.rattlersden.blogspot.com.