Facebook groups meant to honor, not solicit votes

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    Good students need not be punished for being well-liked.On behalf of the three ineligible Ms. TCU nominees, I, along with several other angered individuals, would like to express our complete disgust for the way our university has handled the situation of disqualifying Ms. TCU nominees due to Facebook groups.

    Yes, you read correctly: Facebook. Ludicrous? I know. But we’ll get to that later.

    Since having Facebook groups made without their knowledge, three women have been deemed ineligible from the race by the university.

    It should be an honor to have a Facebook group started in one’s name – not a punishment.

    The contract the women signed to be eligible for Ms. TCU candidacy stated votes cannot be solicited through Facebook.

    In each of the disqualified nominees’ cases, friends started the groups without the candidates knowledge.

    Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines solicit as to “make a petition” or to “approach with a request or plea.”

    So the question I ask is, how can one solicit for herself without even knowing she is doing it? I’m left confused.

    If we take the words of the ineligible women who stated they had no prior knowledge of these groups, then doesn’t that mean they didn’t know they were soliciting?

    There should be no questioning the word of these three individuals, after all, they were all nominated for one of the most coveted and prestigious honors at TCU. Campus groups don’t pick just anyone to nominate.

    Last year, I was a member of the Facebook group, “Vote For Hunter Duncan, For Mr. TCU.” Duncan wasn’t disqualified from the race. Obviously, TCU has implemented new rules for this year. That’s fine.

    But if the school wants to start enforcing a new standard (especially one as vague as the Facebook rule), it needs to inform the entire student body to prevent innocent misunderstandings, such as this one.

    And now the university is offering an appeals process for the disqualified nominees. But the school has already allowed the student body to pre-vote Thursday for the remaining ones.

    I don’t understand why the university allowed the voting to happen if the ballot still has the potential to change. I would call Thursday’s vote erroneous.

    Let’s focus on the disqualified nominees for a minute.

    Not only does this debacle completely embarrass the disqualified women, who now have to explain their disqualification was a result of circumstances beyond their control, but it also leaves a bad taste in the seniors’ mouths about TCU during their final year.

    One of the ineligible women told me that as the granddaughter of a former Ms. TCU winner, she couldn’t imagine having to tell her grandmother the news. Grandmothers don’t understand what Facebook is. They didn’t have to put up with this crap 50 years ago.

    None of these girls meant to break the rules.

    I’m willing to bet Jill Rutherford and Liz Hamner didn’t call up their friends and say, “Hey, make a Facebook group about me so I can win Ms. TCU!” Neither of them are that self-righteous. And though I don’t know Katie Williams, I’m more than willing to give her the benefit of the doubt on this one.

    Instead, it’s common knowledge that to be nominated for Ms. TCU, you must be well-liked. People like these three women enough to want to help their friends win. What’s wrong with that?

    Have we all forgotten that Facebook is about connecting with your friends? I guarantee the members of the groups promoting the three women were all their friends who would have voted for them anyway.

    When I started thinking about this last week, I thought I should just make a Facebook group honoring all of the nominees to see what TCU would do, but some clever person beat me to it.

    What now? Get rid of all of them and have just a Mr. TCU? Imagine what prejudice problems that would cause.

    I find myself left with two puzzling questions.

    What is TCU trying to prove by disqualifying these three women for being well-liked? Also, I am just dying to know: Did TCU really not anticipate the huge controversy the disqualifications have caused?

    I can’t wait to see how this gets resolved.

    Morgan Blunk is a junior broadcast journalism major from Omaha, Neb.