This week officials at Ohio State University said they would stop deleting posts critical of the institution from its Facebook page. The Akron Beacon Journal reported that university officials said they had made a mistake when they deleted comments about the institution’s president, E. Gordon Gee.
“It’s a new feature and it’s a learning curve,” a university spokesman, Jim Lynch, told the newspaper. “We’re willing to take the bad with the good.”
The “bad” happened last week when a graduate student posted a comment questioning Mr. Gee’s role on the board of an energy company that has been criticized by environmentalists. The university deleted the posts and then blocked comments of any kind.
Mr. Lynch admitted that the response was not appropriate, and the university has reopened the page for comments. Observers noted that a university probably does more harm to its image by overreacting to critics instead of engaging them or allowing the open discussion on a social networking site such as Facebook to play out. Today the Ohio State page has several harsh comments about Mr. Gee’s connection to the energy company.
Mr. Gee — perhaps the only college president active on another social network, Twitter — has said nothing about the incident on his Twitter feed. —Josh Fischman