Facebook used to check university applicants

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By Luke Walter on 23.1.2024

Facebook used to check university applicants

A University of Cambridge Professor, Dr. Richard Barnes, a tutor for admissions at Emanuel College, owned up to using Facebook to “check up (discreetly) on applicants for a college position.” On the Cambridge University ‘Medicine entrance requirements and expectations’ webpage does it state any requirement for an applicant to reveal their favourite music, TV shows, movies or books. Neither do students have to reveal their relationship status, their sexuality, or their political or religious views.

Applicants need only to send a ‘passport photo’ as part of their Cambridge University applications.

Charlotte Richer, Access Officer for Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU) said ”Dr Barnes’ comment was both referring to college appointments and not undergraduate admissions and very obviously a tongue-in-cheek remark and not something that should be taken seriously.” She went on to say, “The admissions process is rigorous and based solely on academic achievements and potential, rather than any social, religious or political background.”

Wes Streeting, National Union of Students (NUS) vice- president for education criticised Dr Barnes’ comments for being “flippant” and “very unfortunate given the controversy that surrounds Oxbridge applications.”

“It’s important that admissions to all universities are conducted according to transparent and consistent criteria, measured in a fair way. It is not appropriate for admissions tutors to use Facebook to judge applicants and I would be deeply concerned if this was the case.”

Greg Hayman, the Head of Communications at Cambridge University said that Dr. Barnes comments were only “alleged” and it was a “college and employment matter”- not part of the admissions process. The Guardian who first reported the revelation of Dr. Barnes comments stand by the original article.

Luke Walter



Comments

  • The problem is the potential for discrimination. Facebook details very personal information such as religious views, political views and sexuality, you are not asked at any point in the admissions cycle for sensitive information such as that already listed.

    Even university professors and admissions tutor’s hold a certain opinion and would be antagonistic to opposing lifestyles, but this should not influence an individual’s admission.

    By Luke Walter on 26.1.2024

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  • Sam is a self-styled despiser of Facebook!

    Whilst I agree in principle that it is a tremendous waste of time (I’d be on a First if it wasn’t for Facebook I swear!), I’m not totally against employers and admissions tutors monitoring applicant’s facebook profiles – but only if they make it absolutely crystal clear that this is going to happen.

    After all, if you haven’t got anything to hide then where’s the problem?

    By Phil Crook on 25.1.2024

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  • Facebook is a useful tool for keeping in touch with friends who you don’t see on an everyday basis. Especially, friends who are in different time-zones from you.

    However, common sense will tell you, that if you leave your profiles open on social networking sites, anyone can access the information you have shared. It also really important to remember that the electoral register (anyone can access your details for a small fee)can be accessed online. Someone might find out that you like drinking and when your birthday is on Facebook but they can find out your previous and current address(es) and who you live with just as easily with the electoral register.

    By Emily on 25.1.2024

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  • I think facebook is open to enormous privacy abuse, there was a really good article in the guardian that I’ll find in a sec…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/jan/14/facebook

    However in my eyes facebook is good fun and that you, sam, should jump on the bandwagon..

    By editor on 25.1.2024

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  • I think that facebook is a waste of time and we should go back to talking to friends rather than collecting them. I think this story yet again shows the misuse of private data that people flippently put on these sites.

    By Sam Edgar on 24.1.2024

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