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Opinion: Anonymous Instagram account highlights non-compliance with on-campus mask mandate

Account furthers divisions within campus community, targets Greek life

The latest dispute of public opinion has been mask-shaming. Since the global pandemic resulted in a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to use of masks in public spaces, we’ve seen a controversial topic emerge: to wear a mask or not to wear a mask. 

This simple action has pitted people against each other, politically and socially, leading to a greater divide in the United States and, on a smaller scale, the Rollins community. 

From this divide appears the Instagram account @Anchordown_maskup. The account was originally dedicated to taking photos of non-mask wearing members and non-members of the Rollins community to build awareness of the dangers of COVID-19. But now it has grown into making statements about Greek life on campus. 

As if recent events haven’t caused enough division, the account pitted Greek life students against non-members of the Greek life community. Where do we draw the line between using our resources to raise awareness and creating a toxic learning environment by publicly shaming and blaming members of our community?

The account is run by multiple anonymous students who answer direct messages (DMs) and post replies to the account’s story. The posts and stories that appear on the account are sent via anonymous sources; the information includes anything from photographs of people without their masks on to someone sharing their opinion on the latest Instagram account’s story. 

Less than 24 hours after the account’s creation, the owner of @Anchordown_maskup decided to give the handle to someone else, saying they would “post the last couple of DMs and take [their] leave because of mental health.” 

Since then, the account has focused more on raising awareness of COVID-19 by holding Campus Safety responsible and linking the Rollins COVID-19 positivity count in their Instagram bio.

For the short period of time that the original owner was in charge of the account, photos were posted of people without their permission and multiple attacks on Greek life were made. 

Firstly, posting photos of individuals without their consent is immoral and sometimes illegal; therefore, the removal of these photos from the account after some backlash makes sense. 

Legality issues come into play when the person in the photograph is a minor or feels that the image defames them, creating a false and negative narrative of who they are. Second, while I believe the account was created with the intention of raising awareness of COVID-19, it’s important to recognize that the person running the account made several comments about abolishing Greek life. 

With the #BlackLivesMatter movement in full swing, concerns about Greek life and discrimination have risen. The advantage of legacy status tends to favor white men and women more because the majority of sorority and fraternity members in the past have been white. 

This controversial topic is a hot one right now, creating further divide on college campuses. The Instagram account posted a story with the text, “Some day the history books will talk about Greek life in the light that it’s actually in, and not what it wants to act like it’s in. All y’all in Greek life will feel like fools looking back at your pictures.” 

The statement received both support and backlash from many members of the Rollins community, and the pressure pushed the original account owner to pass the account to a new group of students.

The original account owner widened the divide in the Rollins community, and it is a good thing that the new owners are taking the account in a more helpful, resourceful direction. 

With so much happening in the United States and the world, unity is needed more now than ever before. However, while the idea for this account sounds good on paper, we already have access to both Campus Safety and the COVID-19 positivity count at Rollins. So what is the account really offering? 

From the countless DM screenshots, it seems to me that the account serves as a way for students to vent online about countless issues, including Greek life. While Greek life can be a controversial topic, it doesn’t make sense to post about it on a COVID-19 resources account. 

Yes, it’s important for students to have a streamlined way of getting information regarding COVID-19, and the fact that we even have to create an Instagram account to get this information is troubling. That being said, it’s important to remember basic kindness in these unprecedented times, and to know when to draw the line between helpful tips and shaming that will lead nowhere.

The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect those of The Sandspur or Rollins College.

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