Senate Instagram Messages Raise Questions

On the evening of Dec. 4, many student organizations received the same direct messages (DM) from the @ASUSF_Senate Instagram account, the official account of USF’s undergraduate student government.

“Hello! Can you post it on your social media?” it read. Attached to the message was the official flyer for the Dons For Fair Tuition (DFFT) protest of the Board of Trustees meeting on Dec. 6, which is in response to the proposed 4.9% tuition increase. The board is expected to vote on the potential increase at this meeting.

Under the flyer, a second message read, “This is not under Senate so pls dont (sic) @ us. thank you”

Dons For Fair Tuition, the group who organized the protest, was founded in spring 2019 in response to last year’s tuition increase. ASUSF Vice President of Internal Affairs Cassie Murphy is a co-founder of the organization.

At the same time the messages went out, at least six Instagram accounts affiliated with the USF community posted the flyer on their Instagram stories. 

The organizations who posted the flyer were the International Student Association (@isa.usfca); MEChA de USF (@mechadeusfca), which provides a space for Latinx-identifying members of the USF community; CELASA @ USFCA (@celasausfca), an academic resource center for Latinx students; the official account of the Politics Department (@usfcapolitics); USF Transfer Nation (@usf_transfernation), an organization of transfer students; and GO Team (@goteamusf), which posted the flyer at 8:56 p.m. and later deleted it.

The Foghorn was unable to confirm that all six accounts were messaged by Senate, but verified that all six posted the flyer at or after the time the messages were sent.

Two other student organizations, Campus Activity Board (CAB) and the College Players, received the DMs but did not post the flyer. 

The social media managers of ASUSF Voices and USFCA Prism said their respective orgs did not receive the messages.

At 7:48 p.m., ASUSF President Hector Bustos created a group message with himself and 15 others through text message. He sent the group the same flyer that was sent over Instagram, accompanied by the following message:

“Hi everyone! Dons For Fair Tuition Is going to plan a protest this Friday at the board of trustees meeting, they will be voting on the tuition increase. Please share this with EVERYONE you know! Post it on your Instagram stories!! Wear BLACK!!”

The Foghorn contacted Senate shortly after 3 p.m. Dec. 5. At time of publication, no response had been received. This story will be updated.

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