By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter
KNOXVILLE (WATE)— University of Tennessee officials are warning students not to post photos to a Twitter page that encourages alcohol abuse.
The Twitter account is called "@VolBlackout," and it encourages students to post images of passed out UT students and share them with close to 8,400 followers.
Many students 6 News spoke to say they've heard of or seen @VolBlackout pop up in their Twitter feeds.
"I think it's pretty funny, I don't think there's any harm in it, but I can see how some people might take it the wrong way," said UT freshman Max Taylor.
The account is not affiliated with the university and no one has claimed responsibility for creating the account.
The pictures on @VolBlackout show what appear to be UT students passed out on toilets, the ground, and even a restaurant bench.
A few images show passed out women with parts of their bodies exposed.
"If this goes too far, people can be plenty hurt, there could be death, but there's nothing they can do with it. It's freedom of speech, it's freedom to post whatever you want on your account," said UT senior Kenzie Welms.
The University of Tennessee Police Department says the department has no power to control the account.
UTPD Lieutenant Mike Richardson says the department has known about it for a short time, but nothing he's seen appears to be criminal and there's not much they could do about it anyway.
"There's no way for us to determine where these pictures are, where the site originates, how old these pictures are. So, there's nothing really as far as the police department can do," said Lt. Richardson.
The University's Safety, Environment & Education Center Division of Student Life issued a letter in the student newspaper "The Daily Beacon" in October, warning students of the perils of posting these types of pictures on social media accounts.
The letter added, "I checked into some of the posts and shockingly enough a lot of those people aren't even VOLS, some aren't even in college. The people portrayed on the site as being blacked out probably aren't going to be best candidates for future jobs even coming out of college with a degree."
The students we spoke with Wednesday say they knew about the account but had never seen themselves or anyone they know in any of the pictures.
"I think it's probably college kids are having fun, I don't think it's supposed to be 'oh, look how drunk the Vols get on a weekend,' I think a lot of schools do that," said UT senior Lauren Latture.
UT isn't the only school to have Twitter accounts like @VolBlackout.
6 News found similar sites from students with West Virginia University, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Alabama.
The Twitter account has an email where you can anonymously send pictures.
6 News emailed the creators of the account for a comment.
"We appreciate your attempt to reach out and talk to us regarding your news story," someone using the account responded. "We are sorry to inform you that we will be respectfully declining your offer to talk on the matter."
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