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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Second thoughts about photographs on Facebook after recent incidents at two local high schools

<ecent weeks, two high schools in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area – Eden Prairie and Woodbury – suspended a number of students because photos of the students drinking underage were somehow acquired by the respective school administrations. Both athletes and non-athletes were punished, although athletes – including a number of captains – arguably suffered the harshest penalty as they were kicked off or suspended from their teams. Students at Eden Prairie staged a small walkout, claiming that the school administration had violated their privacy rights. Although less problematic on a college campus, where many students are of the legal drinking age, Carleton students still take a cautious approach to pictures of alcohol on Facebook.

Although no policy exists, many students choose to keep their internet pictures liquor-free. Different from the concern of high schoolers and underage drinking, a major concern at Carleton, as well as many other college campuses, is future employment opportunities; with the Internet so readily available, and privacy an issue, employers may have access to a student’s webpage.

“As an athlete or as a student I would say it is a bad idea to put up pictures like that, especially in the long run,” said Meghan Gajare ‘11. “I saw a story on CNN about a man who lost the job he had just been hired for because his new boss saw pictures of him on Facebook with alcohol.”

According to Kelly Soderstrom ‘11, “The last thing I would need is my potential employer looking at a picture of me and thinking ‘She’s only 19 and she’s holding a beer.’”

While careers are one worry, some students simply do not want their peers to develop a certain image of them. They would just as much refuse to put pictures online of them with an alcoholic beverage as a picture that shows them to be under the influence.

“Regardless of whether a superior sees it or not, I think it is incredibly stupid to put pictures of yourself with booze in your hand on Facebook. It’s just trashy,” said John Cossette ‘11.

For other students the greater worry lies in the thought of them doing something they would not do sober, and a picture of this ending up online. Or, they simply worry about appearing drunk in a picture.

“I wouldn’t want pictures of me drinking on Facebook, because the Internet allows everyone in the world to see you and I don’t know why anyone would want to give so many people the chance to see you completely smashed,” said Soderstrom.

For others, the issue is seen from a more relaxed viewpoint. To them, putting photographs of people with alcohol online is not a big deal, because the pictures can always be removed.

“You can always untag yourself from a Facebook picture and so if you don’t want it on there you can do just that,” said Broderick Dressen ‘09.

According to Hall Director Danica Lance, uploading pictures of yourself with alcohol is a personal decision. Students should be able to judge consequences themselves, and decide the importance of making public pictures of them drinking.

“I think that Facebook and what people choose to post on their Facebook account is a personal choice. If students want others to see them drinking alcohol that is a personal choice they make,” said Lance.

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