The University College Roosevelt Facebook Account (UCRFBA) should not be a part of nor should be interfering with the “Welcome to UCR class of 2023” Facebook page. This is the first time they have been included and involved. This was not the case for the “Welcome to UCR class of 2022”, and the class of 2021, 2020, and so forth. I personally find their involvement extremely disconcerting and I am very unhappy about this. Let me tell you why.
The Welcome to UCR page is a virtual place for students to consolidate with one another and share views on issues that do not need UCR’s attention, until explicitly (and virtually) agreed upon among students that issues should be addressed by the university. For example, the concerns raised about the absence policy regarding Covid-19 were transferred onto a google doc that was editable and viewable by all users of the Welcome to UCR 2023 page, including the UCRFBA. The email, which was a work in progress, should not have been accessible to the UCR until it was finalized and sent.
What’s more, is that their involvement acts as a kind of surveillance on what we post on this page. This kind of surveillance does not only concern what we are posting in the present and in the future, but also everything we have posted in the past. Should there be, for instance, a post or a discussion thread that criticizes a course at UCR or the institution itself, then the UCRFBA will now be aware of who made the post, who liked the post, and who commented.
Other issues that should not be seen by the UCRFBA may be mental or physical health-related content. These are topics that are private and relatable among the student community and should not be seen by the UCRFBA unless, also, explicitly agreed among students. Especially now with the ongoing pandemic, the “Welcome to UCR class of 2023” page is the only virtual platform through which all students can connect and consolidate with one another. The fact that the UCRFBA can now view posts and discussion threads, may discourage students from sharing their situations in the future which will be detrimental to the integrity of the student body and the mental health of students.
Their involvement in the Welcome to UCR page may also be seen as a strategy to advertise and bring more individual attention to personal projects or people in the future. For example, the UCRFBA video of the Dean explaining how we need to maintain corona measures – despite him not addressing the mental and health issues this brings on policy absences. These ‘advertisements’ are very much available via email and on the UCRFBA page itself, which is where they should stay.
What I hope and sorely wish is that the “Welcome to UCR 2023” page remains as it once was: a sacred place where we, students, can safely express our concerns to the community without the UCRFBA keeping a watchful eye on everything that we do, will do and have done.