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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Cumbria university students' union slams 'tasteless and vulgar' website

Students have been left reeling after their pictures were posted online and rated in order of “hotness”.

Ratemash photo
Screengrab from the Ratemash website

The University of Cumbria Students’ Union (UCSU) has slammed the Ratemash website as “tasteless and vulgar”.

Private information, including students’ names, pictures, and interests, is taken from their Facebook page without them knowing and relisted by which university they study at.

League tables are then created for each university featuring the students who have been rated as the most attractive according to their profile picture.

Amie Godward, the union’s student life sabbatical officer, said some Cumbria-based students have been included on the site without their knowledge.

She told the News & Star: “People have been asking us exactly how they can get their details removed.

“They are worried because they are students on professional courses who will soon be starting out in their careers.

“I would be incredibly angry and absolutely mortified if my personal information was taken without my permission.

“It is completely degrading and revolting, and a horrendous form of bullying,” she added.

The union has joined others around the country in contacting the site demanding any reference to the University of Cumbria is removed – but has so far received no response.

It said it will also consider legal action if students’ personal information continues to be taken without their permission.

In a letter to the site, the union wrote: “The use of images without consent is highly unethical, not to mention morally misguided.”

The union is urging students to get in touch with the website in a bid to get any images of themselves removed.

“We find the moral implications of this service completely misguided, and abhor the objectification of individuals,” Ms Godward added.

Michael Healy, the founder of Ratemash, insisted in an interview that anyone who has been wrongly added to the site is actively being removed.

He said a page has been set up where students can remove themselves if they weren’t added in the correct way, which is by being invited or nominated by a friend.

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