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Facebook Helps Oxford U Enforce Rules

Posted Jul 17, 2007 3:40 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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So-called trashings aren't cricket, under Oxford University rules. But neither is the method the renowned British college is now using to discipline its students for dousing others with champagne, flour and worse in celebration of completing exams, some believe.

Disciplinary officials known as proctors have been surfing the Internet, looking for Facebook photographs of unruly students engaged in prohibited trashings, reports the London Times. When they find such photographic evidence, fines result.

Oxford's use of the social networking site to hold students accountable for bad behavior is a sticky constitutional wicket for some. "The student union has branded the move a 'disgraceful' intrusion into privacy and has e-mailed every common room advising how to prevent [Oxford professors from] viewing the photographs," the newspaper reports.

“I don’t know how the proctors got access to it,” says Alex Hill, 21. A math and philosophy student at Oxford's St. Hugh's College, she received an e-mail from Oxford citing her for "disorderly" conduct after administrators spotted three photographs on her Facebook profile in which she is slathered with shaving cream. “I thought my privacy settings were such that only students could see my pictures," she says.

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