Who’s your friend?

By Gus Bode

While Facebook reports more than 17,000 people in the Southern Illinois University Carbondale network alone, many students may be in the dark about the many faculty members who also own Facebook accounts.

Reports have shown some colleges, such as Illinois State University, use Facebook as a way to keep tabs on students. Although some SIUC officials said they have accounts, they said they don’t use the social networking service to bust students breaking rules.

Cpl. David Stewart with the SIUC Police Department said he has a Facebook account.

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Although he does not use it to find students who are breaking rules, he said it has helped in the past to find out things he might have otherwise not known.

There are several reasons for students to be careful about what they put on the Internet and specifically Facebook.

Victoria Valle, assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management, said she knows of some universities that factor in information found on the Internet when choosing which students to admit.

Valle said the schools that do this – such as private schools, medical schools or law schools – look at the whole person when they are thinking about whether to admit someone or not.

Trisha Eyer, a sophomore from Lansing studying elementary education, said she doesn’t think basing admission on a Facebook account is fair.

“That’s kind of dumb,” she said. “It’s their own individuality, how can they judge them by something they do in their spare time?”

However unfair Eyer may think it is, she said she knows the importance of keeping profiles private and some things off the Internet altogether.

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“Last year, one of the girls from across the hall turned us in to our resident advisor because of Facebook pictures of us drinking in our dorms,” Eyer said.

Valle said it’s easy for people to forget how impersonal the Internet really is.

“The Web seems so personal because you’re there in your pajamas doing it,” Valle said.

Elizabeth Scally, associate director of University Housing, said she has a Facebook account and enjoys it, but warns students to be careful about what information they put about themselves on the Internet.

“I think it’s a good tool, I just think students need to be careful with all the information they put out there,” Scally said.

Luckily for students living in resident halls, unless they post something completely incriminating, there’s a chance they won’t get in too much trouble.

Joshua Waggoner, a junior studying kinesiology and a student resident assistant on the 7th floor of Schneider Hall, said he doesn’t use Facebook to track people down but knows of others who do.

“When I’m in the building, I keep in contact with them, but I’m not patrolling them, trying to write them up; if I see something then I do my job, but I’m not looking to bust anybody,” Waggoner said.

Daily Egyptian writer Christian Holt can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 268 or [email protected]

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