As of Oct. 18, Peer Advisors had to terminate all existing group chats with their residents and amongst themselves.

In a message sent to all Peer Advisors, Residential Life Coordinators shut down the use of GroupMe and all other social media platforms that Peer Advisors used to directly communicate with their residents, except for direct texting and emails. Coordinators cited potential violation of FERPA and other privacy laws as their reason for taking this action in an email sent to PAs.

“PAs are still encouraged to utilize GroupMe, Residential Life Director Catherine Bourne said. “The recent change is just the adding of professional staff in the groups.”

Several PAs have deleted their group chats entirely, while others have deleted and recreated them with a professional staff member present. Freshman Rishika Rakwalsaid her PA deleted and then created a new one with an added staff member.

“Now, nobody besides our PA talks in the groupchat,” Rakwal said.

Peer Advisors are also no longer allowed to have any social media groups amongst themselves without a professional staff member present. If supervisors hear of these groups still existing, PAs will be subject to disciplinary action. Only direct text messaging is permissible, according to the email.

“Professional staff members are only being included in groups that are in scope of the PA position and Housing,” Bourne said.