The Arizona Desert Lamp

More faux Facebook crimes

Posted in Campus, Technology by Evan Lisull on 14 January 2009

Good morning, UA students, and happy spring semester — the last of the Aughts. We’ll get right into things with this dispatch from today’s police beat:

A woman called police to report that she was being harassed via Facebook on Jan. 1 at 4:15 p.m.

Police responded to the Pueblo de la Cienega dorm after a woman received messages from her roommate’s boyfriend. The messages were sent the day before approximately five minutes apart. She told officers that she felt threatened by the content and decided to talk to the dorm’s community director, who advised her to speak with the officers.

Weirdly, the last Facebook case discussed on this site also originated at Pueblo de la Cienega. More importantly, this is really bad advice by the “community director,” which sure sounds like a euphemism for R.A. Unless there was a direct threat of harm, there’s no reason whatsoever for the police to get involved. This is something for the Dean of Students Office, or some other authority that doesn’t have more important issues to deal with.

The woman said that she was not sure why her roommate’s boyfriend sent her the messages, but she believed that it may have been the result of a “pro-con” list she helped her roommate write about him. The woman said that the man knew she did not like him and he may have been taking out his anger about his relationship with his girlfriend through her.

She did not wish to press charges. A UA Code of Conduct report was forwarded to the Dean of Student’s office.

To reiterate and reemphasize much of what I said in an earlier post — this is a waste of time, money, and human resources. Unless there is a direct threat of violence with a conceivable likelihood of happening (i.e. “I’m going to kill you in your house tomorrow”), it’s probably legal. This will probably amount to nothing outside of a referral, but these two cases represent an unhealthy intrusion of university officials into a very private, very unsanctioned online community.

Tagged with: , ,

3 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Laura Donovan said, on 14 January 2009 at 2:05 pm

    While I agree that police intervention was probably unnecessary, she had a right to report the man if she felt threatened. In many cases, some women may call the police out of anger, but she may have been truly afraid of this man. We don’t know exactly what was in the email, and even something along the lines of “stop saying bad things about me or you’ll regret it” is unsettling. As a female who has been harassed via text/email, I tend to feel more vulnerable, and I do realize that it’s important for women to take safety precautions. If someone is disturbed enough to continue taunting another with threatening messages, they are potentially dangerous.

  2. Evan Lisull said, on 14 January 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Fully agreed. To clarify, my issue lies not just with involving the police, but with the police being the option of first resort by the “community adviser.” The better option, in my view, is filing a complaint through Facebook, who can actually do something without overstepping their bounds.

  3. Laura Donovan said, on 14 January 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Yeah, the police should not have been the first solution, and the community adviser seemed like he just wanted to get rid of the problem and hand it over to the authorities. It’s not that hard to block someone on Facebook!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: