SAINT PETER— With the combined academic pressures of midterm grade postings and the approaching course withdrawal deadline, many students are dismayed to learn that the anonymity guaranteed by the popular phone application Yik Yak does not apply to academics. Yik Yak, a platform for the anonymous posting and voting of 200-character text posts, has allowed students to post their thoughts without worrying about peripheral issues such as accountability, plagiarism, common sense, or basic decency. However, these comfortable barriers cease to exist outside of the application, a fact which several hundred students have failed to realize.
Junior Sean Joseph was one of the students particularly hurt by the discrepancy between “Yakarma,” the application’s seemingly arbitrary scoring system for tracking “Yak” performance, and the “Grade Point Average” (GPA), the college’s seemingly arbitrary scoring system for tracking academic performance. Joseph, who frequently copy and pastes tweets from popular comedic Twitter accounts to tremendous Yakarma, is now facing academic probation for also copying and pasting his midterm paper for his Introduction to Western Philosophy from a popular essay on western philosophy.
Professor of Biochemistry Kelly Brando reported that many students in her Principles of Biology course did not make any attempt to fill out their own copy of the previous unit exam. “Many of the less apt students would simply wait until one of their peers turned in their exams. They would then walk to the front of the room, grab a classmate’s exam, place it back on the top of the pile, and walk out.” Brando claims these students assumed that this act would contribute to what students have mistakenly identified as their “GPAkarma.”
When asked if the influences of Yik Yak on academic performance are particularly pressing on any student subgroup, Brando asserted that only students below the 2.5 GPA cutoff are reeling from the misunderstanding. Brando explained, “Nobody with a shred of intelligence and free thought actually uses Yik Yak on this campus anyways.”
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