It was early July when many BC students logged onto Facebook to check Brooklyn College: In the Know only to see that they were locked out and had been added to something they had never seen before, Brooklyn College: In the Know 2.
Administrators of Brooklyn College: In the Know said the page had to be created after hundreds of students had been deleted from the original Facebook page where over 2,000 members kept up to date with campus news and communicated with other students. According to new administrators, Brooklyn College: In the Know 2 had to be created after the repeated deletion of #BlackLivesMatter posts stirred up controversy and it appeared the administrators of the original page, two Brooklyn College alumni, were censoring selected posts and allowing aggressive responses to remain. The alumni did not respond to comment.
According to the administrator of the current Brooklyn College Facebook page and Jermaine Fletcher, Brooklyn College student involved in the incident, the mass blocking of students began when Fletcher posted, encouraging his “white friends” to speak up about the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. He also said “to make comments about the mounting genocide perpetrated by police officers towards the black community,” and ended the post with #BlackLivesMatter.
Fletcher said that after a couple comments and likes later, the post was deleted. So, he reposted it only to have the post deleted again. After several attempts, others started to re-post or create similar postings only to have theirs deleted as well. Posts that remained were met with some animosity and aggressive comments.
“I was annoyed,” said Fletcher responding to being blocked from the page. “I feel like this is an important issue to many students walking the campus everyday and for them to decide that this isn’t important was something that didn’t sit well with me.”
Hours later many students found themselves locked out and unsure of what had happened. The administrators had deleted hundreds of students from the page.
“It was all unnecessarily dramatic, and over someone posting that students should acknowledge and listen to students of color in such a troubling and painful time,” said Faina Gordover, page administrator. “Frankly, we found it ridiculous that admins that aren’t even in Brooklyn College anymore can censor current students on topics that are relevant and critical to talk about as a student body. So, everyone was removed.”
The current page is administered by student government and active students. It is a closed group and all posts are monitored before going live to ensure they are related to Brooklyn College and are not promoting illegal activity like downloading PDF files of textbooks.
“The BC: In the Know 2 page had to be made to reflect the population of current students and recent grad students who still use the BC services,” said Gordover.
Tim Donnelly, last year’s student government president and alumnus agreed. “It’s important for students to be able to share info and discuss easily in a space ran and maintained by students.”