Posts of a violent sexual nature made on a Facebook page called “UW Crushes” caused controversy at the University of Wyoming. An anonymous poster, styled as a conservative, targeted a specific student at UW who he wanted rape because she “runs her liberal mouth all the time.”
The student, Meg Lanker Simons, has since been cited by campus police as it appears she posted the threat herself.
The non-university affiliated page, which was reportedly shut down, is not the only “UW Crushes” page on Facebook. These appear to be operated by anonymous administrator(s) who receive messages from alleged UW students about crushes they have on other students. The messages are then posted anonymously to the page, much like the “Missed Connections” on Craigslist.
The anonymous post last weekened, which led to the page being shutdown, was published by administrators, curse words and all: “I want to hatef**k Meg Lander Simons so hard. That chick that runs her liberal mouth all the time and doesn’t care who knows it. I think its hot and it makes me angry. One night with me and shes gonna be a good Republican b**ch.”
Meg Lander Simons reported the post to university officials and campus police. “I’m a rape survivor myself,” she told the Laramie Boomerang. “That is one of the worst things someone can threaten.”
Lander Simons complained to UW Crushes administrators and was unsatisfied that they didn’t seem concerned about the threats made in the post. She responded to the poster saying, “Actually I want this to stay up. This is disgusting, misogynistic … I’m left to wonder if there’s something out there with a violent fantasy about me – and likely other women.”
The University of Wyoming Police Department released a statement Tuesday saying they cited Lanker-Simons after they served a warrant to search her computer and learned that the Facebook post “came from Lanker-Simons’ computer, while the computer was in her possession.”
She was cited for interference with a police investigation for making false statement to UW Police.
UW spokesman Chad Baldwin the incident is being used as an example of the university’s zero tolerance on sexual violence.
“This episode has sparked an important discussion reaffirming that the UW community has no tolerance for sexual violence or violence of any type. The fact that the Facebook post apparently was a fabrication does not change the necessity for continued vigilance in assuring that we have a campus where everyone feels safe,” Baldwin said. “It’s important that this event does not undermine the progress that has been made in this area.”