After a popular three-week run, Tommies can no longer anonymously spill their secrets to the original UST Confessions Facebook or Twitter after the page was shut down Thursday.
The page’s creator, sophomore Joe LaBarre, declined to comment about his Thursday meeting with the Dean of Students office. The university previously stated that it would not interfere with the pages’ operation. Assistant Dean of Students Jim Sachs also declined to comment on the matter, stating that the office had already declared its policy regarding social media groups.
The UST Confessions page’s final statement made via a Facebook status said the workload the page entailed was “overwhelming” at times, leading to its end.
Junior Collin Bramigk said deleting the page was unnecessary.
“Nothing slanderous about the university in itself was ever said,” Bramigk said. “Wny posts that attacked people or revealed anything overly embarrassing about specific people were deleted or not even posted.”
Other students’ responses mirrored Bramigk’s. Freshman Allie Gruman said she and her friends would frequently check the posts for entertainment, but she understands why the page was taken down.
“While most of the posts were comical, some of them got pretty vulgar and offensive,” Gruman said. “I think it’s a bummer that it got shut down.”
Sophomore Jake Pavlak said he was tired of the negative image some of the confessions might have cast on the university.
“I am glad that it was shut down. I have had about enough of this nonsense,” Pavlak said. “A lot of students here, including me, don’t want to be associated with the negatives that came from the page.”
Bramigk said shutting the page down might cover up what students are confessing to, but won’t actually change what’s going on.
“That doesn’t mean that many of the things being ‘confessed’ will stop happening,” Bramigk said.
Within two hours of the post announcing that the page would be shut down, a new Facebook page was created. The “New University of St. Thomas Confessions” page had amassed about 50 likes within an hour of its launch.
Soon after its launch, the imitation page disassociated itself with St. Thomas specifically and changed its name to “New Minnesota College Confessions.” The page’s description invites students from any Minnesota college to confide online.
The copycat would not disclose an identity, but said via Facebook message that it “will do (its) best to not include any confessions with names like the old page.” The Facebook thread also said it would use the page “wisely” and actively separate itself from targeting people or posting false claims.
“The old page targeted people, and a lot of us felt it was wrong with the cat-calls,” the creator said. “If the university is worried about its image or feels there is a problem, please go ahead and message me.”
Pavlak said the name switch might be effective for legal purposes, but the lack of school identity might not drive the same amount of traffic to the page.
“I cannot see it having as much success as the old UST Confessions page,” Pavlak said. “Most of the people liked it because it was linked to their school.”
As for LaBarre’s advice to his successor, he offers two words: “Good luck.”
Anastasia Straley can be reached at email@example.com.