In case you needed more proof that Facebook postings do not count as “private” interactions, The Daily Pennsylvanian reports that the University of Pennsylvania recently fired Nadirah Farah Foley, an employee in its admissions office, after she shared—and mocked—excerpts of students’ application essays on her Facebook page.
According to the newspaper, Ms. Foley’s posts included quotations from essays as well as disdainful asides:
In one essay, a student had written about his “long and deep” connections to the University, citing the fact that he had been circumcised at Penn Hillel years ago.
“I look forward to engaging in the academic, social and Orthodox Jewish communities on campus,” the student wrote, according to Foley’s post.
“Stop the madness,” Foley said in response to the essay on Facebook.
In another excerpt, she quoted an essay in which an applicant had described the experience of overcoming his fear of using the bathroom outdoors while camping in the wilderness.
“Another gem,” Foley wrote of the student’s topic choice.
Surely it’s not uncommon for admissions officers, who may read thousands of such essays, to poke some gentle fun in the privacy of a cubicle or a bar booth. However, copies of Ms. Foley’s excerpts, along with her snide comments, made it as far as the College Confidential Web site, where students find and share information about institutions they may apply to.
“This loses my respect for UPenn and for the general admissions process SOOO much,” said a user quoted by the Pennsylvanian.
Shortly after copies of the posts were sent to the dean of admissions, Ms. Foley stopped working for the university, the newspaper reported, though neither she nor her supervisors have confirmed that the postings were the reason for her departure.
The university’s Office of the Provost said it was reviewing a proposed policy on the privacy of applicant data.