UNM student gov’t worried about Yik Yak

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Kaitlyn Loafman didn’t know much about Yik Yak until school started back up in August.

Loafman, an ASUNM senator, says her friends started seeing nasty messages about them on the app.

“[They were] being called out by name on there, being called a lot of derogatory words,” Loafman said in a phone interview. “It became very demeaning towards them. A few of them didn’t feel comfortable going to class because they weren’t sure who had written these things about them.”

Yik Yak is an anonymous bulletin board of sorts. People’s posted comments are seen within a mile and a half radius and other users can vote them up or vote them down.

“I had it for a while, but there was just a lot of smack talking on the app, a lot of cyber-bullying definitely,” said high school senior Dagoberto Barrera. “Definitely stuff you can’t say on TV.”

“There’s some funny stuff on there but then it gets a little too personal, and goes a little too far,” said Eric Harrison, a UNM senior.

In response to the harassment she was seeing on the app, Loafman introduced a resolution asking for action from UNM. That resolution calls on the university to discourage Yik Yak’s use and hold events to educate students about properly and respectfully using social media.

The app’s caused issues elsewhere in New Mexico. A few weeks ago, KRQE News 13 told you about the Tatum School District banning cellphones because of Yik Yak. Other school districts in other states have done the same.

Students News 13 spoke to on UNM’s campus Monday night weren’t optimistic UNM could effectively ban the app or keep students from posting nasty anonymous comments on Yik Yak or elsewhere.

“I think there’s like a lot of things like that out there,” said Kaylinda Cullen, a UNM senior. “It’s always been out there on Facebook and Yik Yak’s just another version of it.”

The comments on Yik Yak aren’t as anonymous as you might think. A college student in New York was arrested this past weekend, federally charged with posting a bomb threat on the app. Another student in Alabama accused of posting a school shooting threat was also caught.

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