UW-Madison students are experiencing a new distraction from homework, lecture and boredom after a Facebook page dedicated to university -related "memes" launched Tuesday, recieving more than 7,000 "likes" within the first 24 hours of its creation.
The campus-wide phenomenon, which displays user-generated witty phrases over a corresponding background image, includes UW-Madison inside jokes such as freshmen drinking too much or people taking the 80 bus route to avoid hiking up Bascom Hill.
"We're really amazed at how fast it took off," said one of the page's creators who preferred to remain anonymous. "There's no way we could have even imagined that within less than 24 hours we'd have six or seven thousand people liking the page."
The co-creator said they made the page after his roommate saw similar pages among other universities and thought, "we could do something like this."
While the co-creator said the memes are intended purely for enjoyment, he said he along with the other creators have had to delete a number of "completely despicable" posts, ranging from racist references to memes that can cause viewers' computer operating systems to crash.
"Obviously some of that nastiness will show up when you get thousands and thousands of people on a site, but I don't think there's all that much than can be done about it," he said. "That's the Internet. No matter where you go, there will be someone trying to ruin your day."
But according to Althea Miller, a Multicultural Student Coalition executive, memes with racist themes or with intent to harm different cultures and ethnicities are a small part of a larger university dilemma.
"[It's] just indicative of a larger problem that the UW has with ensuring all its students have proper diversity training ... that encourage the breakdown of stereotypes," Miller said.
One of the memes that sparked controversy in the comments section on the "University of Wisconsin Memes" page pictures a man conversing with Leonardo DiCaprio. The text below DiCaprio reads, "My TA's are impossible to understand," to which the other man asks, "What do they look like?" DiCaprio squints his eyes.
While the page's co-creator said he and his colleagues will continue to remove malicious posts, he said they are taking a mostly "laissez-faire approach" and will not remove content unless it is "overly malicious, overly political" or does not relate to the university.
"In our experiences online, nothing kills something new or novel faster than heavy-handed administration taking an ax to user-created content," he said.