After making a quick sweep of her notifications, UNC alumni Julie Baber noticed University of North Carolina was trending on Facebook, and is sincerely hoping UNC is trending for basketball-related reasons and not sexual assault.
The only way to find out is to click that link, but simply cannot bring herself to do so.
“There are only two reasons why colleges are ever trending,” she tells her co-worker, Greg. “Sports and rape. Those are the only two options.”
Upon seeing UNC trending, Julie was blindsided by a combination of school pride, deep shame, confusion regarding the rules of basketball, even deeper shame, an instinct to remove her alma mater from the LinkedIn profile, disgust, and a strong urge to do shots in her freshman dorm room.
For Julie, this blundering anxiety is typical of March Madness, and also really any time of the year. Not because she cares about how UNC does in the tournament, per so. While going to a school with consistent athletic success means it’s common for UNC to nab the attention of Facebook’s news bar, it also means that Julie lives with a near-constant anxiety that her alma mater is on the brink of a despicable, highly-publicized sexual assault scandal.
“At any moment, I could learn that some piece of shit assaulted a girl and went to jail for like two hours before his dad cleaned the whole thing up.”
And then, an even darker thought crossed her mind: “It could even be…a rapist…who also plays sports…” she mused aloud, shuddering.
“Sometimes I wish I went to a quiet, Division III school that nobody cares about,” says Baber. “Like,when you see that ‘Amherst College Men’s Cross Country’ is trending, you instantly know some skinny college jackass did something terrible to a woman. Because who gives a fuck about Amherst College Men’s Cross Country?”
While UNC has advanced to the Final Four in this year’s NCAA tournament, Baner still has legitimate doubts.
“This…just…happens…too…fucking…often…” she laments, slowly sliding off of her chair and curling up into the fetal position underneath her desk.
Julie has yet to click the trending link. At press time, Julie showed no signs of peeling herself off her office carpet.