LETTERS

  /  

June 1, 2007

Letter to the Editor

Maroon unfair to Bean

The Maroon’s unsigned editorial on May 25 (“Administrators Should Exercise Caution Online”) demonstrated a lack of tact and discretion in accusing Assistant Director of Admissions Austin Bean of not representing the University of Chicago well in his Facebook profile.

The Maroon’s point, which was neither well reasoned nor trenchant, could and should have been made without naming Austin Bean in particular. Facebook cannot be googled, but the online edition of the Maroon can.

The Maroon’s editorial staff should realize that admissions officers’ Facebook profiles are hidden to curious prospective students (and anyone outside the UChicago network) until the proprietors of those profiles “friend” the prospective student, which is not something that admissions counselors here do. We only “friend” students who have requested it, and only after they are confirmed members of the next incoming class.

Can the Maroon say where the line is between expressing personal views and endangering the recruiting mission of the University? What if an admissions officer described herself as homosexual on her Facebook profile? Is that offensive or distasteful to some prospective students, turning them off from the University? Is it appropriate? Does it matter?

The admissions office does not look up prospective students on the Internet while making admission decisions. If it is not in the application, it is not of any concern to us. We cannot control how the student community sees them based on their profiles online, but we do not have the time or inclination to go searching for dirt on our applicants.

I do not know if we can expect the same kind of respect for our boundaries from applicants, but it does not matter, since they cannot see the contents of our Facebook profiles anyway—until the contents are printed in the Maroon.

Libby Pearson and Jon R. Quinn

Assistant Directors of Admission