‘I’m Shmacked’ leaves KU early without video
- Feb. 26, 2014
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The recent arrival and premature departure of YouTube channel “I’m Shmacked” is raising questions about the role of partying at the University of Kansas.
“I’m Shmacked” arrived on campus last Wednesday, hoping to film Saturday’s basketball game, as well as the campus, school spirit and the “culture,” according to its Twitter account.
But the group left two days later without making a video, tweeting, “KU is sick so it shouldn’t be hard to have a good time but people have the wrong idea about us and there’s nothing we can really do about it.”
This is the most recent instance of the channel leaving a school without filming, but it’s not the first. Multiple fraternities at James Madison University denied the group access to their parties last month as well, forcing “I’m Shmacked” to move on.
Jill Jess, director of KU News Service, said efforts from student leaders of organizations like the Panhellenic Association and the KU Interfraternity Council ultimately resulted in “I’m Shmacked” leaving town without filming.
“Clearly our student leaders did not think this group represented the kind of image they want for their university,” Jess said. “I commend them for their strong message to their constituencies urging them not to participate with filmmakers this weekend.”
Maggie Young, the Panhellenic Association President at the University, said her responsibility with “I’m Shmacked” being on campus was to simply to let students know of its presence and remind them of the potential ramifications.
“I informed the women in my community of the situation, for the sole purpose of ensuring that they were aware ‘I’m Shmacked’ would be visiting campus,” Young said. “We all know that negative social media can have a lasting effect on an individual’s life, and I simply wanted women in the Panhellenic community to keep that in mind while ‘I’m Shmacked’ was in town.”
Kevin Simpson, the President of the KU Interfraternity Council, sent out an email to the 24 fraternity chapter presidents, reminding them of the presence of “I’m Shmacked” and the need to promote their organization’s values. He said there was an agreement amongst them all that any potential bad attention needed to be avoided.
“We saw it as more of an opportunity than a threat,” Simpson said. “I think it was just kind of a united front and everyone was on the same page in terms of knowing that the greek community here is working hard to present a strong public image. I was really happy there weren’t any negative repercussions from the weekend.”
Simpson said it wasn’t a case of making sure members weren’t filmed, but rather they were acting appropriately in front of any cameras.
“I’m sure that if our members were on a video like that, I’m sure that it would draw quite a bit of interest,” he said. “So it’s definitely important to us that if anyone was on camera that they were representing the University and community well.”
The exposure of party life at the University is nothing new, though. Last semester some University students were interviewed as part of a video from Al Jazeera that documented a tailgating party at a University fraternity.
The Lawrence nightlife is well documented online on websites like College Prowler as well, which lists the University as the 43rd biggest party school in the country, using student reviews for on-campus parties, off-campus bars and clubs, and options for students under 21 as metrics for the rating.
Although it is a concern that prospective students look at rankings like these when choosing a college, a 2013 study from UCLA found that most students prioritize academics more than anything when making their decision.
For John Aduma, a senior from Gardner, affordability and academics were among his top priorities when choosing a school, but he said the nightlife played a role in the decision for a lot of his friends.
“It was definitely a mentality among people I was with,” Aduma said. “The main reason you’re here is to get a degree and get an education, but if you have that covered, there’s nothing wrong with going out and experiencing that though.”
Ellie Eastes, an orientation coordinator from Pratt, helps acclimate incoming freshman to college life at the University. She said it’s clear incoming students are aware and curious of the party life at the University, so much so that orientation assistants are even trained to deal with the questions they get on the topic.
“A lot of times the conversation at orientation goes into the nightlife in Lawrence,” Eastes said. “Things like ‘I’m Shmacked’ make people come in with a lot of expectations that they’re going to come here and party and that’s going to be their life, so I think that’s what a lot of people see and hear about and that can be misleading or unsettling for some students.”
Although Eastes said the incoming students she encounters have already made assumptions and heard rumors regarding the nightlife at the University, she thinks things students see online can exacerbate their unreasonable expectations.
“You hear about all the parties and that we’re a big state school, and I’ve talked with students who feel that’s the expectation or that’s what they have to do,” Eastes said. “I think things like ‘I’m Shmacked’ kind of push that expectation further.”