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Barstool UT under fire after controversial posts

by Preston Wimbish

The Barstool UT Instagram page (@barstoolutampa) has received attention from students, parents and campus officials over the past few months after posting videos of students doing things that put them in danger, like jumping off a house into a pool or fighting.

Barstool UT is a public page that posts videos of people, often students, drinking and partying. The page has gained over 5,500 followers in its first year and some posts received up to 83,000 engagements.

“It really is appalling; that the people running that Instagram think posting degrading/ humiliating images of people who could be in serious danger is amusing,” said Denise Costantino, UT parent, in a post on Facebook.

“I hope someone reports it and gets it deleted,” said Vanessa Ortiz, sophomore psychology major. “They try to look cool or they just want attention but little do they know that’ll prevent them from getting jobs in the future.”

Some students don’t feel negatively towards Barstool.  

“It’s just fun to see your friends doing funny stuff, it’s just memories,” said Avianna Gonzalez, sophomore political science major. Gonzalez said it’s ultimately the student’s choice to do something that may get them in trouble and they should be responsible if they don’t want to get in trouble.

Eric Cardenas, UT’s director of public information and publications, said that his office does monitor social media and is aware of the Barstool page.  

“I don’t think it hurts our reputation overall,” Cardenas said.  “Any kind of negative publicity this may give us, there’s so much good publicity out there, so much more authentic than what these sites show.”  

Any misconduct on social media that is brought to the attention of campus safety will be reported to the office of student conduct, said Kevin Howell, campus safety director.

Justin Rinaldi, staff assistant in the office of student conduct, said the office doesn’t monitor the page but if anyone were to report a post to them, they would launch an investigation.  

“It’s a standard process of reporting, so our office will always deal in the same manner in which anything is reported,” said Rinaldi.

UT has an educational disciplinary system that looks to educate students about why their actions are wrong.  This often involves writing an essay or attending a class, said Rinaldi.

“Anything you put on the internet, it’s there forever, whether you think you deleted it or not,” said Ryne Burds, assistant director of fraternity and sorority life.  

Burds said that students may come to UT thinking it’s a party school but insists that the faculty and staff do a lot to ensure that students know why they’re here, to get an education and a job when they graduate.

Cardenas and Burds agreed that sites like Barstool have been a recurring phenomena for years. In the past, greek life organizations have come together and decided to not involve themselves because it doesn’t portray them positively.

Barstool UT didn’t respond to messages sent directly to the page.

Preston Wimbish can be reached at preston.wimbish@spartans.ut.edu

 

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