By WSN Editorial Board
Class of 2018 Facebook groups were created with the goal of building community among the incoming freshmen. All were established to help students prepare for life at NYU, but the focus of some drifted toward the elections for the 2018 Class Activities Board. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions manages its own CAB18 Facebook page featuring candidates and election news. However, administrators of some unaffiliated groups are freshmen students. Complaints were waged about the tone of one of these closed groups — named “NYU Class of 2018,” same as the official CAB18 page — which was used as a promotional platform for many of the candidates. With CAB officers being announced today, the nasty comments seem to have come to a close. But NYU students — particularly those looking to lead their peers — need to remember that their online presence leaves a trail.
Welcome Week is an opportunity to leave a positive first impression and become part of the NYU community. Unfortunately, students lose this opportunity to connect when they show hostility toward others online. There are approximately 6,000 students in the freshman class across all campuses, but there is no anonymity when everyone is in the same Facebook group. The student group previously mentioned has nearly 8,000 members — far more people than who are actually in the class. The bitter comments and arguments on this page do not help NYU in its struggle to build community.
The students posting these obscene comments in the class of 2018 group clearly do not understand that what they post on public forums is unlikely to remain contained. Privacy is an unreasonable expectation on the Internet, regardless of whether a Facebook group has closed settings. Nearly anyone can access a Facebook page, including employers, professors, parents and peers. Even if a user posts within a closed group, there is still a high potential that outsiders can find inappropriate material or that fellow group members can take screenshots.
NYU is a prestigious school due to its consistently excellent and respectful student body and faculty. In the competitive world of college admissions, public perception matters, especially for prospective students searching for a new place to call home. This particular Facebook group — and the anger it has caused — is not representative of the larger NYU community and has managed to sully the image of the entire freshman class. The incident reflects poorly on the students involved, and is also counterproductive to building a positive campus environment. In response to the controversy, one admitted student who chose to attend elsewhere wrote on Facebook, “You know, there are days when I legitimately regret not attending NYU. Not today, though.”
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 4 print edition. Email the WSN Editorial Board at [email protected]