isn’t it ironic?

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In case you’re not seeing a pattern, or the irony, there’s a close-up…

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I need to say, too, that Notre Dame is a really welcoming place and I continue to think it’s cool that they put EVERYONE’S pictures up, including the undergrad majors. I’m also thrilled that they’re trying to liven up the bulletin boards around here with a little neon paper. However, I was a bit taken aback by the newly formatted bulletin board this morning. I should say, too, that as soon as the incongruence was pointed out, it was addressed. The pink and blue matting is now randomly distributed with a sprinkling of green in there too (although it might have been almost as cool to see the pink and blue simply reversed). However, thanks to me and a colleague’s picture-taking skills, it all will live on here at Scatterplot.

17 thoughts on “isn’t it ironic?”

  1. When I visited a certain ivy-league school to see if I wanted to attend the PhD program there, every visiting student’s schedule was posted in the grad student lounge (to facilitate shuttling us around). At the top of each schedule was the prospective student’s name, undergraduate university, research area, gender and race. I pointed this out to a graduate student there, and how tokenizing it could be (especially since we ought to know that race, for example, is a bit more complicated than “Latino” or “White”). The next day, the schedules had been replaced and sex and gender removed. The whole thing was amusing, but off-putting, to me.

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  2. Hm. I tried to leave a comment, but it got eaten.
    Anyway, hopefully this won’t show up as a repeat.
    I attended the prospective student visit days for a particular prestigious ivy-league soc program, and in the graduate student lounge, the schedules of each visiting prospective student were posted. At the top of each schedule was the student’s name, undergraduate university, major research interest, race and gender. Race was a trichotomy, I think, of “White”, “Black” or “Latino”. I pointed this out to one of the current students, and how it was a bit silly given that we ought to know that race is a bit more complicated than that, what with Sociology and all. The next day, the schedules were replaced with ones that were identical but lacking race and gender. I found the whole experience amusing on one level.. but a bit off-putting.

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  3. (Hopefully this comment does not appear three times, I’m having some problems with my comments or something…)

    I attended the prospective student visit days for a particular prestigious ivy-league soc program, and in the graduate student lounge, the schedules of each visiting prospective student were posted. At the top of each schedule was the student’s name, undergraduate university, major research interest, race and gender. Race was a trichotomy, I think, of “White”, “Black” or “Latino”. I pointed this out to one of the current students, and how it was a bit silly given that we ought to know that race is a bit more complicated than that, what with Sociology and all. The next day, the schedules were replaced with ones that were identical but lacking race and gender. I found the whole experience amusing on one level.. but a bit off-putting.

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  4. Pretty lucky no one has passed any reasonable laws protecting privacy in the U.S. i’d guess. My suspicion is that unlike the olden days, in most of the western world this practice of putting names and pictures up on walls is very much against the law as a violation of personal privacy. Think of it in terms of potential stalkers, what a boon! as for the boy/girl issue, that i think is what you would find if you gave the pictures to 99% of staff and students if asked them to code them. I think it is more revelatory of the norms prevalent in our society, and changing it is more revelatory of a tendency to recognize or perhaps just promote different norms, which i’d tend to think is related to class issues through education.

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  5. My suspicion is that unlike the olden days, in most of the western world this practice of putting names and pictures up on walls is very much against the law as a violation of personal privacy.

    When I was an undergraduate, two lists of summer examination results for students in all school divisions and years would be posted under the arch of the main quad. One alphabetical list and one ranked list. Full names and ID numbers provided in both cases. No photos, but I think only because they didn’t have the technology. I wonder whether they still do this.

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  6. Privacy Schmivacy….In 20 years (or sooner), when some intellectually challenged frat boy/sorority girl wants to be President, nobody will be able to prove that she graduated last in her class (if at all). Stalkers are almost never random. Posting a picture is unlikely to promote negative attention, and they’re kindof helpful for faculty and staff. The person you dumped after three months is your stalker. Knee-jerk fearmongering about privacy seems a more distinctively American phenomenon.

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  7. Um, has it occurred to anybody else that pictures hanging in an office are really low-level exposure (as, after all, the people who are together with you in class do know you are there), while a picture of said picture on a blog will, indeed, live forever and may even violate FERPA? I don’t think it is a FERPA violation for one student to say something about another student, but it is illegal for an employee of an educational institution to tell anything about a student’s record, including whether he/she is an enrolled student, without his/her permission.

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  8. jessica: good point, and we do the same. BTW I wasn’t meaning to criticize you, I did not think of this until someone else raised “privacy” issues, and then I did, because I don’t think pictures on an office wall are a privacy issue. I think the answer is that you are supposed to be able to not be on the web site if you don’t want to. At our school, you choose whether or not to be in the on-line campus directory. I think default is that you are on the department list of grad students, but can ask to have your name taken off. The details of FERPA bemuse many people. As regards this picture, it is a pretty low-level issue I’d say, because the names are not searchable in the photo, so it would be kind of accidental if someone spotted someone in the picture and “found” them that way.

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  9. Well i think the point is that students are supposed to opt-in of being included not have to opt-out because someone over-included.

    I should point out that any text in a picture is pretty much searchable now, google has it in beta, and other companies have been doing it for a few months. Now, if it was trying to read my illegible chicken scratchings…. it fails but… nice clear handwriting is usually searchable.

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  10. @Olderwoman – Thanks, hopefully the spam filter has learned its lesson. I wonder what it didn’t like – the first two were posted from the Soc department computer lab, while the one that went through came from my home computer…

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  11. As an owner of the identity of one of the faces so recklessly purveyed above, I have only one thing to say: how could you? Jessica, you should be receiving a packet from my attorney in the next few days.
    Actually, I tend to agree with Sherkat. Big deal. I think most of us wish that we were sexy enough to actually attract a stalker. (Insert angry rebuttal from Stalker Victims Anonymous here.) As to the gendering of photographs, I actually hadn’t even noticed the color scheme after 6 years of walking past the pics. Couldn’t we just let it go with a wink and a smile? This wasn’t a scheme cooked up by the department head–I doubt that was the case anyway–it was the work of a dear receptionist who celebrates every new student’s arrival with this little photographic ritual. BTW the hospital wards have moved to issuing pink-and-blue birth caps now. My two little boys were thusly doomed to gender ambiguity for the rest of their lives.

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  12. Nothing over the top to someone who knows your style. I do want to point out that I did said in the post that I appreciated the effort Notre Dame (meaning the dear receptionist you allude to) put into posting everyone’s photos and that the color coding was brand new.

    I guess to me a blogpost is equivalent to a wink and a smile. I found the humor in it all, but was afraid that others in the department might not and there could be more serious reactions.

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