O’Dowd Accounts: InstaFame or InstaShame?

Bishop O’Dowd themed Instagram accounts bring controversy to campus


The introduction of humorous Bishop O’Dowd-themed Instagram accounts has taken over campus. These accounts, anonymously run by students, have been branded as wholesome and holistic, and others, as a violation of privacy and immature. 

Some of the most followed accounts have been “OdowdParking”, “OdowdPostureCheck”, and “OdowdFits.” “OdowdParking” posts photos of funny, unsatisfactory parking jobs on campus. It has amassed a following of 358 people. “OdowdPostureCheck”, now recently deleted, posted photos of students sitting or standing in bizarre positions that had a following of over 442 people. Finally, “OdowdFits” posts photos of stylish, creative outfits seen on campus, gaining a following of 546 people. The list does not end there, however. After a simple search on Instagram, 37 Bishop O’Dowd-themed accounts can be found. Some of these accounts are lighthearted and random, posting pictures of exactly what they’re named for, such as: “Odowd_Doors”, “Odowd_Exits”, “Odowd_Lawns”, and “Odowd_Seagulls.”

The account with the biggest following, OdowdFits, makes sure to photograph and post students on campus with their knowledge and consent. The owners of OdowdFits anonymously shares, “We feel that we uplift the O’Dowd community through our account. We try to be very conscious of what we post and make sure people know we are taking a picture of them. In fact, most people are willing or even request to be featured on our account.” In addition, OdowdFits owners express that they use their platform for good. They explain, “We posted awareness for Maria Goretti after the Bishop Barber controversy. When people came to school with her name on their clothing, we made sure to showcase those students.” OdowdFits owners like to show the creativity of people’s outfits despite the confinement of the dress code at school. They find exhibiting everyone’s unique style fun and exciting. In all, they find running the account to be a gratifying and rewarding experience because people enjoy having their pictures posted.

However, OdowdFits contrasts many other accounts. Various accounts have purportedly taken photos of students without permission, raising discomfort and tension on campus. This is a direct violation of O’Dowd rules, as The Student-Family Handbook states:

  • “To protect the privacy of O’Dowd students and faculty, students may not create digital video recordings or pictures of O’Dowd community members either on campus or at off-campus O’Dowd events for online publication or distribution that convey inappropriate or illegal behavior.
  • Students may not make video or audio recordings of their teachers without express permission from the teacher. 
  •  Students may not use social media sites to publish information or remarks deemed to be disparaging or harassing toward O’Dowd community members or that convey illegal or inappropriate activity. 
  • Students who choose to post editorial content to websites or other forms of online media must ensure that their submission does not reflect poorly upon members of our community.” (p. 53, Social Media Policy) 

Michael Cooley is a junior who was posted on OdowdPostureCheck on November 18th, 2021. He states, “I didn’t mind being posted on the O’Dowd posture account. I think it was pretty funny. However other people don’t share my opinion on that and they should have the right to their privacy and should be asked for consent. For me, a friend took the picture so it was okay. But the account didn’t reach out to me and ask if it was okay. They also had my Instagram so they definitely could have asked if they wanted. I believe they should’ve reached out and should for everyone they post to respect privacy rights.”

All of the accounts remain anonymous and there have been many complaints from students around campus about these controversial accounts. Some students have chosen to report or block Instagram posts and accounts with offensive or disrespectful content that violates their privacy or that of others.