As social networking sites like Facebook become more and more popular among college students, students and their parents are finding new ways to utilize the extensive amount of information. This summer, universities around the country started receiving calls from unhappy parents that had checked out their student’s future roommate on Facebook. A New York Times article reported that colleges from around the country were dealing with complaints from parents saying that they had looked at roommate’s profiles and pictures, and decided that they were “too religious, too depressed, too sexually active, too foreign, too fond of alcohol, too interested in rap or heavy metal”, etc to live with their children.
To deal with the complaints, several colleges have started allowing students to pick their roommates on Facebook from a list of new students that will be living in their dorm. At San Francisco State University, 1,100 of the 1,500 incoming freshman chose to pre-pick their roommates from Facebook. The housing officers made lists of students based on age, major, dorm, and other factors for the students to choose from. Once they and their potential roommate had agreed on the match, they could notify the housing office.
Though the option to choose roommates based on Facebook seems appealing to some students and parents, many housing officers from campuses throughout the country argue that Facebook is not a fool-proof way to determine actual compatability between students. Some say that the process may cause segregation in the dorms. In the article, “Forget Friending – Roommate Me” from Inside Higher Ed, Norb Dunkel, president-elect of the Association of College and University Housing Officers International, said that it is a concern for many housing offices. “When you start segregating, you are missing out on opportunities to know people with different backgrounds,” he said.