On Friday, Jan. 26, several students alerted the UCR community about social media accounts posting sexually suggestive photographs and videos of female students from UCR taken without their knowledge.
The accounts, all titled NextGen Candids, were found on Twitter, Tumblr and iFunny, a medium usually used for the circulation of memes.
The account’s oldest tweet was dated Oct. 20, 2016, purportedly showing girls attending UCR’s freshman orientation. Though freshman orientation had already passed by October, the women in the photos were wearing UCR accessories characteristic of those distributed during orientation.
Arelybel Iniguez, a third-year business major and president of the UCR Panhellenic Association, said she was alerted to the accounts by Interfraternity Council President Matthew Nicolai because some of the women in the pictures had Greek backpacks. In response, Iniguez took to Twitter to notify her followers of the account on Jan. 26. Several other women also alerted their followers of the account.
“As a student and a woman on campus as well … seeing a fellow student walking by minding their own business … being basically stalked … it’s personal,” said Iniguez in a phone conversation.
Iniguez said people were spreading information around social media about the accounts since late January. She, herself, had tweeted about it on Jan. 26 but noticed others had been spreading information around Twitter, especially.
Though she does not know anyone pictured on the accounts personally, Iniguez explained that an officer on the Panhellenic board has a friend who was the target of the suspect in one of the videos.
Iniguez urged targeted women to come forward if they know something or saw themselves in one of the videos. “We really encourage students to come forward,” said Iniguez, also citing her conversation with UCPD and Student Conduct. “If you have any type of evidence, let’s say you also took screenshots and can send that over to UCPD, or you recognized yourself in one of the videos … if you could come forward … anything is helpful.”
In a campus-wide email sent on Feb. 1, which included a statement from Interim Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Thomas M. Smith, he acknowledged the accounts, which have since been suspended, posted “images focused on the clothed buttocks and breasts of the unaware women and were posted online with sexually suggestive captions and hashtags.” Smith further noted that the images represented “sexual objectification” and contradict UCR’s goal of creating a safe environment for all students. The UCR Title IX office and Student Conduct and Academic Integrity are working closely on reviewing the matter and ensuring that safety and campus policies are respected, according to Smith.
This story is developing.