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Posted at 9:34 AM ET, 12/ 7/2010

Controversial RateBU.com lets students vote on hotness of women

By Jenna Johnson
Jenna Johnson

Students at Boston University can now log onto RateBU.com, rate their female classmates as being hot or not, and help compile a list of the top hotties on campus. As you would guess, the site has angered numerous students and prompted the student government to take action.

"Unique? Not really. Still fun? Absolutely!" the homepage explains

The Web site was created by Justin Doody, a sophomore in the engineering college who got the idea from watching the movie, "The Social Network," according to The Quad student magazine, which first reported the news.

Unlike Mark Zuckerburg's earlier "FaceMash" -- which pulled photos of women off campus servers -- all of the content on RateBU is submitted by users, which Doody believes makes his site legal.

"I saw an opportunity to do it in a different way," Doody told me. "I think most people understand the site is a big joke and not meant to be taken seriously... It's not meant to be malicious at all."

This week students have been fighting back and discussing what can be done to shut the site down. The student government passed a motion Monday night condemning the "offensive Web site" and encouraging students to not use it, according to The Daily Free Press. And at least one Facebook group has organized to protest the site.

"I think it's completely disgusting and degrading," said Nicole Rojas, a junior journalism major who created the Facebook group. "I don't believe degrading girls should be a form of entertainment."

The number of photos on the Web site grows each evening. The site's main page claims that it has already counted more than 630,000 votes on more than 400 women. Doody said he has more than 4,000 registered users and more than 3,000 of them have voted on the site or submitted photos. A large number of those users are women, he said.

And there are plans to add a section for photos of men and to expand to other schools.

"I have receive an incredible number of requests from girls" asking for men to also be judged on the site, Doody said. "I never meant for the site to be sexist at all."

Updated on Thursday, Dec. 9, to include comments from Doody.

What do you think? Is the site offensive? Is it an invasion of privacy?

Campus Overload is a daily must-read for all college students. Make sure to bookmark http://washingtonpost.com/campus-overload. You can also follow me on Twitter and fan Campus Overload on Facebook.

By Jenna Johnson  | December 7, 2010; 9:34 AM ET
Categories:  Networking  | Tags:  Boston University, Facebook  
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Comments

I think this is terribly offensive and invasive. This is treating women purely as sex-objects and posting photos of them without their permission. It shouldn't matter that the creator of the site isn't adding people, what matters is that anyone can be added, without their permission and subjected to degradation and I'm sure it will become cyber-bullying in some cases. I mean, on Facebook, you decide your privacy settings and choose who can see what, you decide who your friends are, and you can block/delete anyone or anything offensive so you don't have to see it. This site doesn't allow for any of that. I would be offended if my university had such a site and I was on it. In fact, I would demand that my information and photos be removed.

Posted by: Wander099 | December 7, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, Boston University cannot do much about it because at the outset, it appears most of the pictures are taken from Facebook in the alleged "public domain". This is concerning from a BU public relations perspective, however, and I'd encourage anyone to read the rest of my thoughts here:
http://mayh3m.com/?p=434.

Posted by: nitevision88 | December 8, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

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