In Other Ivory Towers…

Administrators of the online forums of Middkid.com and The Daily Jolt web site have changed their forum policies in response to an increased number of abusive posts. Ted Adler, founder and president of CollegeXTRA, the company that runs Middkid.com, decided to remove the forum from the Web site. Administrators of Middlebury’s The Daily Jolt web site have upgraded to a more restrictive type of forum that requires users to log in before posting messages.

Although harmful and deleterious posts have plagued both these web sites in the past, this fall marked a dramatic increase in the amount of offensive postings. In addition to some racist entries, the website also received some anonymous postings that targeted specific students. Despite their association with Middlebury College, Middkid.com and The Daily Jolt are officially unaffiliated with the school and independent of its rules and regulations.

Regardless, Middlebury has paid particular attention to the websites and some feel that the college has an obligation to protect its students from slander. Targeted students have also been upset by the abusive posts.

“It really hurt me,” said one Middlebury student named on the website. “I feel differently about the school now. [The anonymous attack] changes the way I look at people and things because I don’t know who wrote it.”

The two websites have taken separate approaches to address the problem. The Daily Jolt website upgraded its forum software to require user registration and log-in. While logins are required for postings, the users’ names are not published on the site, but can be accessed by administrators for tracking purposes.

The success of this policy will also depend on the presence of responsible web administration. On the other hand, Adler decided to simply remove the forums from his Middkid.com website. He did not feel that a restrictive forum would be as effective as a medium of communication as the anonymous site since “forums that force users to log in don’t get as much traffic.” He hopes that he will be able to reinstate Middkid.com’s forum at some point in the future.

Courtesy of The Middlebury Campus

Student stabbed during Amherst Homecoming party

After the Williams-Amherst football game two weekends ago, a fight erupted in the basement of an Amherst dormitory sending one student and one alumnus to the hospital with stab wounds and leading to the arrest of two men with no ties to Amherst College.

Two additional alumni were also wounded in the altercation. One of the victims reported that a group of young men not affiliated with Amherst attacked a group of Amherst students in a dormitory basement. When a group of students and alumni attempted to break up the fight, they were stabbed by members of the opposing group.

Once campus police arrived, a witness described a non-Amherst student with what appeared to be a knife. The fight then moved outside, and two suspects were apprehended.

According to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Amherst resident Christopher Gray, 17, was arrested and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, a glass bottle.

Police also arrested Amherst resident Jason Stinson, 19, and charged him with assault with a dangerous weapon.

A third party is believed to be involved, and the investigation to identify this suspect remains open.

While Amherst students were involved in the fight, Chief of Campus Police John Carter “does not foresee taking any action against them.”

Courtesy of the Amherst Student