Facebook page shut down after years of sleep-shaming international students

A FACEBOOK page alienating international students has been taken down following complaints over racism and privacy invasion. Rowan Forster has the report.

Photo of a student sleeping during lecture

Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt. Licensed under CC.

A Facebook page publishing pictures of international students napping at the University of Adelaide was shut down on September 30.

Since its debut in 2011, the page called “Notorious Sleeping International Students of Adelaide University” had attracted more 7,700 followers and became a source of controversy over racism and privacy invasion.

With the tagline “Nap and you’ll get snapped”, the page displayed international students snoozing through lectures, sleeping on lawns or dozing off in libraries. These posts were often followed by comments of condescending and demeaning tone by its administrators and followers.

Adelaide University Student Representative Council president, Renjie Du, told The Advertiser he had received “numerous” complaints over the inflammatory page.

“There are students who have complained that the page is full of hate, but that’s not my view,” he said. “This is not very friendly and some of the posts could be quite racist, but I don’t think everyone who writes them has the intention of being racist.”

“(However), some of this stuff is not welcoming at all.”

The page administrators nevertheless maintained that “this page does not discriminate.”

A screenshot of the Facebook page.

A screenshot of the Facebook page.

International students at other universities such as the University of Melbourne, Monash University and RMIT University are also regularly photographed sleeping around campus and posted on “confessions” pages. However, these pages have not come under fire because they do not directly alienate foreign students.

Marc Whue, an international student at RMIT University, said:

“There are sometimes Facebook and Twitter posts out there making fun of international students, but the groups that post them don’t target us (exclusively) so they get away with it.”

International students who feel they are being harassed, bullied or discriminated against can contact the Australian Human Rights Commission at 1300 656 419.

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