Bring Middlebury Confessional Out of the Dark

By Guest Contributor

It’s not uncommon that college students turn to the Internet to seek relief from the papers, exams, problem sets and job applications that lie ahead. For Middlebury students in particular, a site called Middlebury Confessional is one option for when morale is low during a late night in the library. Given the definition of confessional — “an admission or acknowledgement that one has done something that one is ashamed or embarrassed about” – the site would seem innocuous enough. However, it is anything but.

Middlebury Confessional is not actually used as a forum for students to publicize genuine confessionals, so don’t expect to log in and read about the embarrassing time where a girl walked into the boy’s bathroom only to run into her crush from Bio lab. Students use the website anonymously to spark debate on who has the nicest ass on campus and, more frequently, to air their every grievance about the college and its people. Ranging from opinionated pseudo-intellectuals to reasonable mediators to blatant instigators, posters craft paragraphs of arguments, proudly declaring their beliefs without taking any responsibility for them.

I can understand why people feel the need to use the website. Regarding certain issues, it can be difficult to make your voice heard on this campus and the anonymity of Middlebury Confessional offers security and protection. However, for students who desire progress and change at Middlebury, speaking out on Middlebury Confessional is, to put it simply, a waste of time. The administrators of this school don’t hunker down after dinner each night to read up on students’ latest complaints. I absolutely encourage students to express their opinions, but I also encourage owning those opinions and taking accountability for the harsh dialogues to which they contribute, rather than hiding behind the promise of anonymity.

Middlebury Confessional is a conduit for the most spineless form of bullying. While some posters may be well-intentioned, they are nevertheless inviting commentary from others and are ultimately contributing to unproductive, unnecessary discourse. I encourage users of Middlebury Confessional to consider the consequences of their actions and to heed the advice of Cady Herron from Mean Girls: “Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.”

Maybe I would have been wise to request anonymity with the publishing of this piece; it’s a touchy subject, and I’m sure I’ve offended a few diehard posters. However, anonymously writing an article about the cowardice of anonymity would make the article a little too ironic, so I’ve chosen to share my name and attach it to my opinion.

MAGGIE CAPUTI ’16 is from Brunswick, Maine.