A website asking visitors to rank Cornell sorority sisters has received more than a million hits and triggered a maelstrom of criticism from community members in the few days it has been live.
The website, Cornellfetch.com, shows visitors the Facebook pictures of two female Cornell students, listing both their names and the sorority they are affiliated with. Although the website does not explicitly tell users what to do, it makes them either click on one of the two women’s pictures or “skip” before progressing to the next pair of pictures — and even ranks the “Top 10” women on the website.
A University official said Cornell “would never condone such a site” and said he hopes whoever made it will take it down.
“Thankfully, in the past we’ve found that responsible members of the online community, at Cornell and beyond, are most effective at self-regulating these kinds of sites,” John Carberry, director of press relations, said in an email. “Let’s hope history repeats itself in this case.”
Students who found their names and pictures appeared online expressed a mixture of concern and anger over what they considered to be a distasteful website.
Haillie Crockett ’15, who saw her picture on the website, said in an email that she found the site to be “childish, objectifying and completely unnecessary.”
“Anyone who logs on to it is going to think it’s about rating people by their looks and chapter affiliation. While a Cornell student will know a few of these people, which will influence their decision, they won’t know the majority of them, so the ‘winner’ most times will come down to looks,” Crockett said. “I thought we left ranking popularity in high school.”
Crockett said she immediately emailed the website to get her picture taken down.
“The existence of this site makes me feel pretty disappointed in the people that felt the need to create it and all the people that have contributed to its growing popularity,” Crockett said. “It sets girls up to feel badly about themselves, and it divides the Panhellenic community when it should be coming together. I don’t think its existence benefits anyone, and I hope the creators do the right thing and take it down.”
Cindy Zhou ’15, another sorority sister who found herself on Cornell Fetch, called the website an “invasion of privacy.” She was not asked for consent before her name and picture were published, and she said “it would not have ever interested me if they had asked.”
Zhou expressed hope that the website would be shut down or fade in popularity soon. The website is “almost worse” than college gossip forums like the former CollegeACB.com because “it’s pitting these sororities against each other in a community where the [Panhellenic Council] and Cornell would like to believe we are all friends,” she said.
Carli Van Holmes ’14, president of the Panhellenic Council, said in an email to sorority presidents that she had heard “a lot of concern” about the website from Panhellenic women. She encouraged sorority members to avoid talking about the website, change their Facebook privacy settings and flag anything they do not want to be on the site for removal.
Original Author: Emma Court