Northwestern admitted about 1,000 early decision applicants into the Class of 2018 in December, but if you’re gauging the incoming class purely based on the “Northwestern University Class of 2018” unofficial Facebook group, most of those 1,000 appear to be current Northwestern upperclassmen, Internet trolls and students from Grinnell College.
It’s common for current students to join the incoming class’s Facebook group to answer questions or promote their organizations, but the 2018 group, which numbers roughly 1,050 students, is a different beast.
Since the admissions office mailed early decisions acceptances in December, posts have run the range, not only in topic—from the university’s geographically inaccurate name to the availability of Evanston bars — but also in tone and humor.
“Anyone else getting tickets to the Rose Bowl?” says one sarcastic post on Dec. 14 by McCormick freshman Drew Floyd. “Can’t wait to see the 'Cats finish their undefeated season!”
Throughout the deluge of posts, reactions of actual Class of 2018 students varied significantly, from amusement to disappointment and even confusion. Gabe Leto, an incoming freshman from Chester County, Pa., appreciated the humor.
“I thought the whole thing was pretty funny,” Leto says. “We had to expect it considering the fact that the group had no real form of security. In a situation like that, there’s nothing you can do but sit back, watch, laugh and play along every once and awhile.”
Texas native Jack Du, another incoming student, was less amused.
“I think it’s majorly disrespectful to troll the Northwestern Class of 2018 page,” Du says. “I understand the trolls didn’t have bad intentions and can see why they found it funny, but I think there are some things that are off limits. Most of the trolls were from other universities, and as is always the case, were eager to prey on the pre-frosh.”
Du expressed his frustration on the group wall. His Dec. 14 post received 90 likes.
“If you’re fucking tired of trolls please like this post,” Du’s writes. “Can we please have some more respect? Please let us, the northwestern mighty and proud class of 2018, talk amongst ourselves and get to know the people we’ll be spending the best 4 years of our life with [sic]. Please just have courtesy and think about how you’re tarnishing our school.”
While many of the trolls were current freshmen like Hastings, or members of Sherman Ave, there was also a contingent from other schools, including Wesleyan University, Emerson College and Tufts University. A handful of Grinnell College students have been active in the group as well.
“Does anyone here like memes?” says a Dec. 16 post by Grinnell student Nicolas Knoebber. “I really enjoy them, with some of my favorite being, doge, that cute dog; GoodGuyGreg, and Success kid XD. We should totally share our favorite memes here!!!! [sic].”
The trolling activity died down after Winter Break, but incoming freshmen will surely remember their unique introduction to Northwestern long after they arrive on campus. They may even have learned a thing or two.