Bored@Baker rape guide

Inside Higher Ed reports on cyberbullying at university.

There are confession pages and websites, on Facebook and elsewhere. Universities have no way to block access to them.

Most posts are innocent confessions about crushes and pranks — or just hoaxes — but occasionally, students use the sites to launch anonymous attacks and start rumors. That’s what happened recently at Hopkins, where a confessions page on Facebook turned into “a hub for cyberbullying and controversial posts about race and sexual orientation,” according to the independent student newspaper The Johns Hopkins News-Letter.

“It’s unfortunate that from time to time, at colleges across the country, these things pop up,” O’Shea wrote. “It’s unfortunate that a very few people are willing to hide behind the mask of anonymity to say things to which they would never attach their names and reputations.”

One correction: it’s not “a very few.” It’s a lot. A lot of people are willing to do that, including some respectable people, like doctors and government bureaucrats and the like.

More privately hosted sites have appeared in CollegeACB’s wake, including Bored@, which deems itself as an “anonymous social network for educational institutions.” At Dartmouth College, the site is known as Bored@Baker, a reference to the Baker-Berry Library. Membership is restricted to users with an email address ending in “” or “” — in other words, current and former students.

Dartmouth recently launched an investigation in response to a freshman who said she was sexually assaulted after having been named in a “rape guide” posted to the website. The case did not turn up a report of sexual assault in connection with the post, but the university was able to identify the author, who is now undergoing Dartmouth’s disciplinary process, Anderson said.

Just what every university needs, a rape guide.

In many cases, students enjoy First Amendment protection and can’t be held liable for their posts, but Tracy Mitrano, the former director of IT Policy at Cornell University, said some speech may be seen as an assault under criminal law.

“Colleges and universities would do well to borrow these legal concepts and formulate through campus discussion and debate reasonable definitions and standards to incorporate into campus codes of conduct,” Mitrano, who also blogs for Inside Higher Ed, said in an email, adding that “an individual member of the community may enjoy free speech but may also within the community find their speech implicates other provisions under the campus code.”

The “rape guide” was in other words a clear violation of Dartmouth’s campus code — not to mention Bored@Baker’s terms of service — which spurred the university into action.

“While we certainly have a healthy respect for the First Amendment, we also want to make it clear that as a community, we have standards and and expect that … we will treat one another with respect,” Anderson said.

Is a “rape guide” protected under the First Amendment anyway?


  1. screechymonkey says

    Is a “rape guide” protected under the First Amendment anyway?

    That probably depends on what you mean by a “rape guide.” If it’s simply a general description of “here’s how someone could commit this variety of crime and get away with it,” I think yes, it’s probably protected.

    But my understanding is that it’s a pretty complicated area without a lot of clear precedent. UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh has published articles about Crime-Facilitating Speech. It’s about ten years old now, but I don’t think there have been a ton of developments in that area.

  2. Wylann says

    One correction: it’s not “a very few.” It’s a lot. A lot of people are willing to do that, including some respectable people, like doctors and government bureaucrats and the like.

    ‘Respectable’ probably needed scare quotes in that sentence. 😉

    Also, I wish news outlets would stop referring to racist and sexist comments as controversial. They aren’t controversial, they are wrong, morally and ethically. Controversy implies there is some kind of ‘two sides’ that don’t really exist. We need a better word.

  3. RH Omea says

    Under NH law the incitement to commit a felony (ie. rape / sexual assualt) is a CRIME. This little prick should be arrested and charged if the police can link him to the post, which given the requirement of a valid dartmouth email, they can and have. Then get picture of him perp-walking to jail in cuffs. That will make any little butthole at schools all over the country think twice before they endanger another student. What a fine example of upbringing – his parents must be so proud.

  4. says

    There are some horrifically sick boys there at Dartmouth…There really are! Anyone who thinks this guide is funny is a RAPIST!! POINT, BLANK, PERIOD!! The only types of guys who laugh at this crap are ones who either have raped someone or will! These boys should be ashamed of themselves! The school should be ashamed of themselves! The parents should hate themselves for being complete and total FAILURES at producing worthwhile sperm!!!! What is WRONG with these boys???? Please someone tell me!! You don’t see girls running around raping people, laughing about it, and posting how to guides, just GUYS! W-H-Y??? This ENTIRE world is in the shitter because of GUYS! LOOK AROUND!!!!!!! What are we teaching boys that we AREN’T teaching girls because whatever that is, NEEDS TO STOP NOWWWWW!!!!!

    The guy writing it admits HIMSELF that what he is describing as RAPE!!! Hence is why it sounds so “rapey” to him. Getting a girl wasted to screw her is RAPE! What don’t you guys get? Are you that pathetic you can’t find anyone sober to screw you??? APPARENTLY NOT!!!! hahaha HOW FUCKING SAD!!!! Perhaps it wouldn’t be so difficult if you were actually ATTRACTIVE, or SMART, or KIND, or FUN TO BE AROUND!!

    I want to post a how to guide on murder…then tags these jackass in it! Disgusting filth! ROT IN HELL!

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