LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Personal responsibility should be taken with social media

Kelly Madole

It is a sad commentary on the level of discourse at the university that the current “social media” controversy has devolved into “First Amendment” versus “WKU Brand.” The role of personal responsibility is being ignored.

Last fall, I chanced upon a Twitter account parodying President Ransdell (PimpRansdell). My initial thought was that it was a humorous satire. However, I soon realized it was rife with appallingly racist, sexist and homophobic statements. The list of followers was public and included individuals, e.g., cheerleaders, who represent the university.

I reported the account to the university administration because I thought someone should make students aware of the ramifications of their public behavior.

Yes, students, you do have First Amendment rights! You have a right to tweet, retweet or follow whatever you want. But you will have to bear the consequences of acting on those rights. Those consequences might include forgoing a letter of recommendation from a professor who decides your behavior reflects poor judgment and emotional immaturity.

I find it ironic that with all of the clamor about First Amendment rights, these hate-filled tweets came from an individual who chose to hide behind a parody account.

Fittingly, one of the early mutual followers of PimpRansdell was another anonymous account, KKK BG4ever. I say this is fitting, because sending racist tweets from a parody account is the electronic equivalent of donning a hood and sheet. If you really want respect, have the nerve to own what you say in public.

-Kelly Madole

Professor of Psychology

Chair of the University Senate