Barstool Hillsdale, a social media account affiliated with the national Barstool organization and dedicated to documenting comic Hillsdale happenings, has unfortunately oozed into student culture to the point that, when an unusual event happens, students think aloud, “I wonder if this will end up on Barstool.” This creates an unhealthy environment for the school and campus culture. Stop following Barstool Hillsdale.
Some argue that Barstool helps discourage unwanted behavior, like PDA. But there’s an easier way to get someone’s attention than taking an anonymously recorded video of someone, sending it to someone who will post it on social media with a snarky caption, and hoping that the target of your video will be so embarrassed that they cease the unwanted behavior.
Confronting individuals about awkward, maybe embarrassing behavior isn’t comfortable, especially if you don’t know them personally. But it’s OK to make new friends. And a private comment from a stranger about conduct that you think is inappropriate is far kinder than creep-shotting someone from across the room.
Barstool punches down. A recent video with more than 9,900 views depicts a Hillsdale student passed out on a bathroom floor, pants around his ankles. While the video does not show his face, many know who the student is.
In the biblical story of the good Samaritan, a stranger lies injured on the road, while travelers pass by him. In Barstool’s world, people walking by take video of the injured man and give it a snarky caption for strangers to laugh at. And while intoxication is a matter of personal responsibility, unlike being assaulted on the road, memorializing someone’s hurt in an Instagram post goes against what Hillsdale stands for.
A recent Barstool post showed an exam with a professor’s harsh comments and encouraged the student to drop out. Razi Lane, a 2018 alumnus and former class president, left a constructive comment on the post, encouraging the student to renew his efforts, rather than drop out. From Lane’s response, Barstool found material for another post.
“Imagine waking up and deciding you’re going to be like this,” Barstool quipped on Twitter.
But Lane demonstrated traits we should all strive to cultivate: kindness and encouragement. Barstool is deceitful. A November 2018 post portrays a couple of students who look like they’re making out. They weren’t. But due to the unfortunate angle and snarky caption, many believed they were and mocked them for it when they weren’t even aware a picture had been taken.
Barstool and the other snark accounts at Hillsdale make students feel like they’re always being watched. Let’s call it what it is: an invasion of privacy.
Barstool takes the things that make Hillsdale unique and turns them into jokes. A Parents Weekend post mocked parental comments overheard on campus, like “You’re so lucky that you get to have such a great relationship with your professors,” and “The chapel is going to be so awesome when it’s finished.”
We should be grateful to attend a school where we can have a great relationship with our professors and where class sizes are small enough that we can get to know them as friends.
Barstool as a national organization is a company with poor ethics. The Daily Beast wrote an article documenting sexism and harassment at Barstool and the company responded by posting the personal details of the reporter online for its hundreds of thousands of followers to harass.
Barstool Hillsdale has higher standards than the national organization.
“We’re working hand-in-hand with the deans.” said Junior Jacob Sievers, who runs the Hillsdale Barstool account. “Anything the deans ask me to take down, I take down instantly.” Students can reach out to Sievers on their own if they feel uncomfortable about content shown of them. Sievers said he honors 95 percent of the wishes.
Sure, Barstool has some good content about Hillsdale’s sports teams and funny events on campus. But it also posts false content that hurts students. Don’t support the negative aspects of Barstool as a national group. As a campus, we should ignore Barstool Hillsdale.
Again, I understand that Barstool is a joke account. Many responses will say, “Don’t you get it? It’s just a joke.” I do get the joke. I’ve laughed at Barstool jokes. Some of them are funny. But it doesn’t add to the culture we wish to cultivate at Hillsdale and should be ignored as the childish endeavor that it is.
Joel Meng is a junior studying American Studies.