January 10, 2017

Community Locked Out of Marketplace

A new version of Marketplace that launched Friday now requires users to login with a CNetID in order to view the site. 

The University required Student Government (SG) to shut down the website in mid-December due to what SG President Eric Holmberg called “illegal postings.” 

The site was shut down on December 13, and was revived on January 6 with stricter moderations and new restrictions.  

Although students with valid CNetIDs will not be affected by the update, alumni and many Hyde Park residents who frequented Marketplace can no longer access the site.  

According to University spokesperson Marielle Sainvilus, there has been no change to the access policy for the Marketplace site, and external users should never have had access.  

“There was a temporary glitch discovered which mistakenly allowed external users to temporarily access the Marketplace site which has been addressed and resolved,” Sainvilus said in an e-mail. “Any person in the UChicago community with a CNetID can access the site.” 

Community members voiced their concerns with the change in the comments section of a Facebook group called *Free & For Sale*, an alternative to Marketplace that many users turned to during periods when the site was down in past years. Many expressed frustration and confusion over the University’s decision.  

Alumnus Sid Colton wrote about the long history of Marketplace in the community and its importance to alumni, whose credentials are different from those of students and now limit their access to the site.  

“This is silly, at best. It does not qualify as more than a D+ in ‘reasoning’ ability, since ‘their reasoning’ is mentioned above: Just because the ‘University’ (i.e. its lawyers and provosts) wants something, does not make it at all sensible or correct or good for the University,” Colton wrote in a Facebook comment in the group.  

Holmberg said the decision to limit Marketplace to students was made by the University and suggests that alumni turn to alternative services.  

“SG’s main priority is to serve our constituents, who are students,” Holmberg said.  

“I understand the dismay over an unforeseen change to a service, but the decision to limit access to members of the community was made above SG. I have worked on behalf of my constituents to support Marketplace, and I would encourage alumni and other members of the community to reach out to their own representatives in the University with their concerns. In the meantime, students and other members of the community are encouraged to utilize platforms like Craigslist.”