News and Commentary

University Faculty Member Secretly Records Conservative Students, Doxxes Them On Twitter

The University of Washington seems to have a real problem with privacy and ethics.

When teaching assistant Rebecca Ferber saw three conservative students eating lunch and discussing politics, she began recording them. She then posted a photo of their face on Twitter and asked her followers what she should throw at them: a “water bottle,” her “entire backpack,” or her “insides.” The latter won by a large margin, according to the College Fix.

Jason Rantz of KTTH radio first discovered the tweets. The conservative students were talking about the formation of a new campus group, “Students for Self Defense” and suggested organizing a “Beers for Brett” event to celebrate Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.

“Tagging Shultzy’s Bar and Grill — which initially asked the club not to visit them due to the ‘political nature’ of their event — Ferber tweeted ‘@shultzys there is a group of UW students organizing a ‘Beers for Brett’ event for tomorrow if Kavanaugh is confirmed. I hope you won’t allow these men to celebrate the success of putting a rapist on the Supreme Court and enact this kind of violence on the U District,’” Rantz wrote.

Ferber then tweeted that she had recorded the students “to see if there is any useful information … ”

One of the students who was recorded, freshman Zach Wildfang, told Rantz they barely even talked about Kavanaugh.

“[Ferber] had just posted that … we were sitting there, plotting our celebration and this was before the confirmation, anyway,” he told Rantz on the radio. “We had surfaced it, in our group that the tweet had come out. Another student ran a little ‘background check’ on Ms. Ferber and that’s when it came out that she was UW faculty, which was a little alarming as incoming freshman to see that’s how they treat students.”

Another student who was present, Cameron Edwards, learned about the tweets days later, and told Rantz: “It’s pretty ridiculous that people can just dox you whenever they want … ”

Chevy Swanson, the third student present at the lunch and president of the UW College Republicans, filed a complaint against Ferber with the school at UW President Ana Mari Cauce’s encouragement.

Rantz said he confirmed that the school was investigating the complaint, even though UW spokesman Victor Balta said the university could not “discuss any ongoing complaint or confirm that one is underway.”

This is not UW’s only problem with privacy violations. Just a few weeks ago, UW students created a website to anonymously accuse men — students or not — of sexual assault without any verification.