Panhellenic says goodbye to Yik Yak

By LANCE LIJEWSKI | Evergreen assistant news editor

Yik Yak is a new social media app campaigning across the nation and harming the entire WSU community, said Panhellenic Council President Madi Phillips.

In response, the council now encourages its members to delete the app permanently from their electronic devices.

This particular app allows its users to anonymously share text-based posts onto its social media platform. An estimated 36 percent of WSU students use Yik Yak and are posting once every 60 seconds, said an email released by Yik Yak’s public relations team on Tuesday, Oct. 14.

Phillips said she received a separate email three weeks ago from a concerned community member wondering what the Panhellenic council was doing to address issues caused by applications similar to Yik Yak.

An opinion poll was conducted with Panhellenic delegates on Oct. 6 at their bi-weekly association meeting. During these meetings the council connects with the representatives of each chapter and addresses pressing issues.

“On that beautiful Fall Monday we all agreed to educate our members about the toxicity of this increasingly popular app, Yik Yak,” she said in an email.

Afterward, rather than try and counter the negative content with positive content, the council decided to completely discourage the use of the app.

Shortly after this decision was made, a social media campaign began with a “#releasetheyak” hashtag. The council’s official Twitter feed @WSUpanhellenic has been contributing Tweets of their own and retweeting posts by other members since Oct. 12.

“Panhellenic is essentially serving as the support system for this movement,” Phillips said.

Phillips said she would like to see this movement spread through the entire WSU community and put an end to all applications like Yik Yak.

Yik Yak’s Lead Community Developer, Cam Mullen, declined to comment on the social media campaign.  

Outside of the Greek community, Res Life Director Edwin Hamada does not see Yik Yak itself as a significant threat to students.

“Any opportunity to be anonymous is dangerous,” he said. “But being dangerous doesn’t mean it’s worse than any other kind of social media.”

Since Yik Yak is a new application, Hamada said he has not seen any direct impact on life within the residence halls. There have not been any reports of Yik Yak causing harm to students.

Hamada has only become aware of Yik Yak within the last week and said that he has witnessed more negative content on pages for other schools rather than WSU.

“It could be a lot worse,” he said. As Yik Yak continues to gain attention, Hamada said, staff will respond appropriately.

If something impacts the WSU community, he said, Res Life will address it as a floor community or hall community instead. Individuals immediately impacted by posts will be worked with as well.

Since Yik Yak is anonymous and open to the public, Hamada said there is not much more Res Life staff can do to intervene. There is no way to identify individuals who post. Because of this, staffs are not required to go on and respond.

Despite this, Phillips said the Panhellenic council will continue to encourage abstaining from Yik Yak altogether.

“Too many strangers are being put down or humiliated,” she said in her email. “And we all believe that those who find that information comedic is sickening.”