Boston University’s Student Union passed a motion to release a statement condemning RateBU.com at its final meeting on Monday.
RateBU.com, a website recently launched by School of Management junior Justin Doody, allows other BU students to rate female classmates based on their looks.
Union’s statement reads: “The Boston University Student Union hereby condemns RateBU.com as an offensive website that does not represent the culture that many of us at Boston University work to create and we discourage use of the website.”
The statement was originally set forth by the Women’s Resource Center and called for the site’s immediate deactivation.
However, Union revised the statement because it is not within the body’s power to remove the website because it is not on the BU server.
“We don’t have the authority to directly take it off the Internet,” said Union President Arthur Emma, a College of Arts and Sciences senior.
In light of an impending Washington Post article on the website, CAS junior and Union Director of City Affairs James Boggie urged Union members to release an official statement as soon as possible.
“Because this is attracting national news coverage, we want to make sure we’re clear,” he said. “We want to get out there and say what the Student Union is saying on the website because it’s going to get out there. A resolution from the Student Union is a resolution from the student body at large. . .So we may not have direct authority but we have indirect power.”
Boggie said another point of contention lies in the legality of posting pictures on the website without owners’ approval or awareness.
“This is an area in Internet law that’s fuzzy,” he said. “What’s happening is that these are photographs taken from Facebook, and the owner of [rateBU.com] is saying that anyone can use them once they’re on Facebook…it’s not clear if you lose ownership once they’re on Facebook.”
College of General Studies sophomore Constanza Ortiz encouraged Union members to stand behind the WRC.
“If the Student Union doesn’t stand by a club like the WRC that clearly feels very passionate about this, we’re falling behind in our responsibility,” she said. “At the end of the day, RateBU, that’s BU, that’s all of us.”
In an interview with The Daily Free Press, Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore said, “I am dissappointed that something like this [RateBU.com] has that kind of power. . . and we need to ask ourselves why.”