A Facebook page has been posting anonymous stories of negative student interactions with the Victoria University’s Dean’s office as well as allegations of misconduct. The page, called ‘VikiLeaks at Victoria College,’ was set up by an anonymous group of “several” former and current Victoria students on December 12 and allows students to submit stories anonymously through a Google Form.
At press time, the page had posted 14 submissions. The allegations ranged in content, from suggesting that the Dean’s Office had inappropriately shared personal information about a student, to requests that students disclose mental health issues during Orientation Week.
One student alleges being referred to “publicly” as a “bad student” by Dean of Students Kelley Castle, who then reportedly poked fun at the student’s discomfort. Two submissions detail LGBTQ students struggling to find residence accommodations because of their gender identity and sexual orientation.
The submissions are gaining traction with students, with 172 page likes, and 211 people following the page. When prompted to comment on how the page fact-checks submissions it receives, the admins of VikiLeaks admitted in an email to The Varsity that due to the anonymity of the submissions, they “have no way of verifying the source or legitimacy of the submissions.”
The page admins stated that they “strive to maintain the privacy and anonymity of posters,” but also acknowledged that this can be difficult due to the nature of the submissions.
As of now, the page admins reported that they have received 30 submissions from students, and intends to continue posting them “as long as students keep sending them.”
Asked about whether the Dean’s Office could verify any of the allegations, Victoria University spokesperson Jennifer Little, stated in an email to The Varsity that the Dean’s Office was “not going to respond to anonymous Facebook posts.” Little also commented that the college “do[es] not condone incivility towards our students or staff members, including online incivility.”
The page has already run into issues with the anonymous submissions. A post shared to the page on Wednesday was subsequently deleted after it was reported that the student implicated in the post did not consent to the story being shared. As a response, the page posted an apology and removed the post in question, writing that they “will refrain from posting anything that would implicate a student without their consent.”
In an email to The Varsity, the anonymous VikiLeaks admins wrote that they are “alarmed by instances of students often being mistreated and damaged by callous decisions, and the frequent prioritization of the reputation of Vic over the well-being of its students.”
According to the page admins, misconduct by the Dean’s Office has been pervasive “for years.” They remarked that while VikiLeaks is “clearly a biased and partisan effort to bring to light some of these issues,” it is necessary due to “the lack of current venues that wronged students can take.”
Little disagreed that Facebook was the best option for discussing the allegations. “We always welcome suggestions on how to improve programming and practices at the Office of the Dean of Students,” she wrote in her email. “The appropriate avenue for raising concerns about the Office of the Dean of Students is to express those concerns in confidence either to the dean or to the president of Victoria University.”