Feminists Lodge Complaint Over School Yik Yak Threats

Female students say University of Mary Washington must end abuse
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2015 12:40 PM CDT
Feminists Lodge Complaint Over School Yik Yak Threats
Fredericksburg police investigate the scene where Grace Rebecca Mann was killed.   (The Free Lance Star, Peter Cihelka via AP)

A group of female students at Virginia's University of Mary Washington is lodging a Title IX complaint against the school over the anonymous messaging app Yik Yak, reports CNN. The members of the campus group Feminists United say they've received so many abusive threats online that they feel unsafe on their own campus, and they accuse the school of doing too little to protect them. Last month, one of their members was killed, allegedly by a male roommate, though authorities have made no links between the Yik Yak threats and the death of Grace Rebecca Mann. Yik Yak is popular on college campuses because it allows users within a relatively small area to post and receive anonymous messages on their phones.

Members of the feminists' group say they've endured cyber-stalking and repeated threats of rape and murder, in particular after two incidents: They spoke out against allowing frats on campus because of concerns over sexual abuse, and they got the rugby team suspended over an abusive chant. (Mann's accused killer is a former rugby player.) Afterward, the Yik Yak threats came pouring in. “It created an increasing level of fear and anxiety,” says attorney Lisa Banks. “They had no way to know if people who were posting messages were sitting next to them in class or walking next to them on campus.” The school says it has investigated all threats of violence, and Yik Yak says it is working to curb hate speech on its service, reports the Washington Post (Read more University of Mary Washington stories.)

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