A new student Facebook group with the name “Troy Students by Students” was created after a reiteration of rules and the implementation of a new “no solicitation” rule were posted in the “Troy Students” group – a social media page that reports its purpose as being a place to “share info about athletic events, organizations, events on campus, university sponsored fundraisers , and anything student or Troy related.”
Moderators of the Troy Students Facebook group, which has more than 5,900 members, posted rules for the group on Friday. Following this post, students began to criticize the moderators and the Student Government Association (SGA), which was perceived by students to be in control of the group.
The SGA is “not at all” affiliated with the Troy Students page, posted SGA President Morgan Long, a senior sports management major from Birmingham, Alabama.
Students began responding on the older Facebook page, saying the idea was valid after memes making fun of the SGA were deleted promptly after being posted on the page.
According to Virginia Tilley, a sophomore social work major from Wetumpka, Alabama, the removal of SGA criticism gave many students the impression that SGA was in control of the page.
“You’re removing posts criticizing SGA, how are we not supposed to think it’s y’all?” she wrote.
Long, a moderator of the page, said the moderators had been wanting to clean up the page and begin the move away from having so many items posted that were for sale.
“I like the rule change, I think it helps for the purpose of the page, which is for people to ask questions and express concerns, and we’ve been moving away from that,” Long said.
Students became vocal about their concerns after the rules appeared near the same time as a post from the Spectrum Alliance, Troy’s LGBTQ+ club, featured a shirt with a curse word on it.
The moderators said the post was removed, but as as of Oct. 16, a post featuring the shirt was still up.
Some students thought the removal was an act of discrimination, but Long and Anna Laura Kirchharr, a moderator for the original group and Troy graduate student said the post was removed only due to the profanity on the shirt.
According to Kirchharr, the rules were actually reposted after a promotional post was made on the page that advertised alcoholic beverages for sale.
“We removed that post and began making a no soliciting rule,” Kircharr said. “We were going to clean up the page and have more quality content.”
Part of the reinforced rules was a “no profanity” rule. While some thought this rule was new, the rule has been in place since the Troy Students page was created.
Members of administration had also requested more moderation on the “no profanity” rule before the story began, Kirchharr said.
She said that main posts including profanity will “probably come down,” but she said regulating comments is much more difficult than regulating main posts.
“In the comments, you can say whatever, but in the main post, no profanity,” she said. “We can’t regulate comments — that’s ridiculous.”
New group created
The discussion surrounding the “no solicitation” and “no profanity” rules led students to believe the page was moderated by SGA, so many followers of the page began making posts and memes criticizing the SGA.
Alex Reynolds, page moderator and senior nursing major from Dothan, Alabama, pushed back, noting that the posts were being deleted because they were spreading “false information.”
“The only reason the posts regarding SGA were deleted in the beginning were because of the falsity of bringing SGA into the argument and situation to begin with,” he said. “The SGA does not oversee the page, and the SGA was not censoring anybody.
“I felt like the SGA was being falsely accused of something they were not a part of.”
That’s when Kayleigh White decided to create a new Facebook group named “Troy Students by Students” that features no restrictions on selling items.
“When they posted the rules, I looked at the comments and everyone said we want the student businesses, because some people pay for college like that,” White, a freshman social work major from Clanton, Alabama, said. “You take that away, you’re basically telling someone you can’t go to college now because that’s their income.
“Maybe me creating this group will bring all that mess they don’t want into this group (Troy Students by Students) so people can still promote their businesses and have the other group (Troy Students) to promote clubs and organizations, so they’re not getting lost in the posts — I was just trying to help everyone else.”
White said she tagged the new group twice on the original page, and she was removed from the Troy Students page twice for advertising the page.
“I don’t think I want to (rejoin Troy Students),” White said. “Third time’s a charm.”
“Having multiple sources of information on multiple platforms decreases the efficiency of getting information out,” Reynolds said, regarding the decision to remove White from the group. “Originally, I felt like the advertisement of the other page was not good to be posted in the Troy Students page because it was divisive and not adhering to the purpose of the page.”
After the new page’s name was reposted in Troy Students group multiple times, Reynolds finally posted the “Troy Students by Students” page himself, disabling the comments on that post.
Students were also removed from the page, or put on post authorization restriction, for spamming memes and writing posts about the SGA and for commenting the new group’s name.
Virginia Tilley, a sophomore social work major from Wetumpka, Alabama, admitted she had spammed the page, but she said her issue with the situation’s handling was about censorship.
“They removed stuff criticizing SGA,” Tilley said. “This is a public university. We all have opinions, we want to be heard.”
Tilly said the majority of students on the Troy Students page had no idea the reiteration of the rules was in response to the sale of alcohol on the page.
“How were we supposed to know when you didn’t let us know?” she wrote on the page. “I just think anything that has power over the student body should be mindful about letting us know when things are happening, and not being condescending.”
“Don’t delete posts when they just have an opinion, because it makes (the moderators) look bad,” White said.
“(Students) were removed for excessive posts, beating a dead horse, and spreading false information,” Reynolds said. “Excessively spamming the page and whining is not how you act like an adult.”
Reynolds said he ran the Facebook group by himself for a while, but enlisted extra help with the group when more students began joining.
“(Moderation) has in the past been left up to my subjective opinion,” he said. “There needed to be some kind of written basis and guideline so you could refer to the rule that was broken.”
After all the controversy and conversation regarding the two pages, Reynolds said the moderators of Troy Students are taking action to make the page better.
And even though social media is a convenient way to quickly send messages to Troy students, Long said he encourages students to reach out to him directly with their concerns.
“I posted my email, and it got 100 comments, but I got one email,” Long said. “Please come talk to me. We can solve so much so much quicker without any miscommunication face-to-face.”
At deadline, the new Facebook group had more than 1,100 members.