TWE: Tufts Students Follow WikiLeaks’ Example

April 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

On The World Exposed, Friday, April 15 and Associated Content April 29:

Will Ramsdell sits at his desk, the windowsill in front of him cluttered with potted plants, a box of floppy disks at his feet. A beige PC monitor behind him pointlessly flickers between a bright array of colors. But Will’s focus isn’t on his plants or his technological work of art. His focus is on his MacBook, the only evidence in the dorm room that the 21st century has already begun, and Ramsdell and the organization he represents are part of it.

Ramsdell is working on JumboLeaks, a student-run document leaking site for Tufts University documents. As he works, he chatters on about the nature of the internet, the philosophy behind leaks, and what JumboLeaks is about.

JumboLeaks launched on April 2, 2011 with the release of what they say is a leaked list of companies in which Tufts had direct holdings. On the list was Monsanto Corporation, Goldman Sachs Group, and Lockheed Martin, companies noted on the site as “ethically suspect.”

As tuition-paying students, Ramsdell and the small group of five or six students that started JumboLeaks are concerned about where their money is going.

“In a capitalist society, money is a vote,” Ramsdell says, noting that universities aren’t democracies, nor do they claim to be. The hope for JumboLeaks, he says, is to push Tufts towards a more democratic system.

The reference to democracy-by-leaking draws a noticeable parallel to WikiLeaks, but JumboLeaks and WikiLeaks have their differences. Though JumboLeaks calls itself “a little Wikileaks for Tufts,” the goals of JumboLeaks aren’t totally in line with those of WikiLeaks. While WikiLeaks hopes to eradicate secrecy from governing bodies and totally eliminate the ability of these groups to conspire, JumboLeaks isn’t so extreme.

“There definitely is room for secrecy in almost all instances,” says Ramsdell, but “deciding what should be private and what should be public is almost impossible.” Ramsdell and JumboLeaks, though, prefer information – especially about the money they and their peers are spending – to be public.

Click here to read more on Associated Content.

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