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November 25, 2018

University Restricted Class Facebook Pages to Preserve Their "Intended Purpose" of Class Discussion, Community

The University announced in September that membership in Facebook class groups, following the Class of 2022, will be restricted to students within that class. The decision sparked controversy among students, particularly upperclassmen, who emphasized that it would increase problems of communication between classes.

Régine Enuson, assistant dean of students in the college and director of college programming, said in an e-mail to The Maroon that “class Facebook pages are losing their intended purpose as a vehicle of communication and platform to develop and preserve a meaningful community before and after the students matriculate in the fall.” 

In conversations on Facebook, many students thought that opening the pages to the entire UChicago community would not result in a loss of ownership of ideas of the members in the class, but would only add significant opportunities to bring the community together.

Third-year Christina Stebbins was one of the public voices to argue online that the groups served a broader purpose than simply being a discussion community. She emphasized that restricting groups makes it harder for students in other years to advertise events and make announcements, especially for smaller and newer RSOs.

“In fact, it has become increasingly difficult to keep track of multiple class pages when trying to bridge the gap between various classes,” Stebbins said in her conversation with The Maroon.

While Stebbins expressed a fear of weakened “campus unity,” she also likened this decision to similar decisions made by the University, such as the graduate student union vote. She attributed the change to the University administration’s tendency to make decisions without consulting the student body.

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