APU Confessions is back, and creator and alumnus Anthony Montes said this time around, students can expect to see more posts that showcase “the whole point” of the page.
“I’ve been doing a lot more, not dark, but more passionate confessions, if that makes sense,” Montes told The Clause.
The previous confessions ranged widely: some were light-hearted and humorous, others were explicitly sexual, and some were about darker struggles such as depression, rape or abuse.
The page, created Jan. 26, 2013, allows students to anonymously submit confessions through a Google Document form and read and comment on previous confessions. Montes sifts through submissions and decides which ones to post.
Montes began once again posting confessions to the Facebook page Jan. 30 of this year, after an 11-month hiatus. When he created the page last year, it was shut down within a month after his resident director requested a meeting with him. According to Montes, the RD told him, “The school believes the page has run its course and they would like the page down by Monday.”
Last year, Associate Vice President of Student Life Willie Hamlett told The Clause that APU Confessions did not edify or enhance Christian community. He said many of the confessions contained a “glorification of lewd, dishonest and unhealthy behaviors.”
Montes, who graduated in May 2013 with a B.A. in journalism, said he was dissatisfied with the page’s abrupt ending. So he brought it back, despite his full-time work schedule.
“I’m doing my best to show [that] it has a purpose. To me it’s meaningful,” Montes said. “I was really convicted by the untold stories my peers have to share.”
So while Montes will still post some not-so-controversial confessions, he said he will amp up his focus on those that show “serious hurt,” to let others see they are not alone in their struggles.
But these more “significant” confessions are what David Peck, vice president of University Relations, said largely contributes to his concern about the page’s revival.
“Sometimes those [confessions] really need to be said to a counselor, or someone [who] could really provide some support for that individual,” Peck said. “I’m uncertain of the professional level of support that is offered through a Facebook group.”
Peck, who holds a Ph.D. in media psychology, said any medium that allows for uncensored comments without any accountability is a cause for some concern. He also cautioned against establishing a negative digital footprint. Comments on APU Confessions posts are public and available to future employers.
Peck noted that the name “APU” is not officially trademarked to Azusa Pacific University, but American Public University, which he said adds to the ambiguity of the page.
The page currently has 1,950 ‘likes’ and more than 235 published confessions. Montes said down the road, if the page grows significantly and students are still interested, he may pass control of the page to someone else.
“But as of now I’ll control it until I feel comfortable releasing it fully,” he said.