Grad feels ‘exploited,’ SMU apologetic after website mislabels her and friends as ‘African and Middle Eastern Studies’ students
SMU apologized to one alumna Thursday after mislabeling her and her friends as “African and Middle Eastern Studies” students online.
Noura Liben first tweeted the photo stating, “@SMU used my photo in their course catalogue. Under my photo, the caption is ‘African and Middle Eastern Studies.'”
@SMU used my photo in their course catalogue. Under my photo, the caption is “African and Middle Eastern Studies.” pic.twitter.com/fFeDWwURs9
— NJones (@nliben) October 15, 2015
Liben stated on Twitter that she and her friends were not African and Middle Eastern Studies students. She recently graduated from SMU with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in engineering. According to Liben, the other three women majored in biology, chemistry and English.
Biology, Chem, Mechanical Engineering & English majors….@SMU how did we end up on this picture? #QTNA pic.twitter.com/iA1YsjUKk5 — NJones (@nliben) October 15, 2015
“I was insulted, amazed that this could happen,” she told NBC 5 via Skype. “I guess I’m frustrated because I was limited and pigeon holed into a specific field of study. Why could they not have used that picture to illustrate the school of engineering?”
SMU responded to the original tweet to apologize, saying the photo was mistakingly used on a University web page and is being removed.
“We apologize and will do better,” the SMU said in a later tweet.
@nliben the photo was mistakenly used on a University web page and is being removed. We apologize for its use and thank you for alerting us.
— SMU (@SMU) October 15, 2015
Liben stated on Twitter that the photo’s use online was biased and profiled the group of women. She told NBC 5 that she wishes the photo was used correctly for science majors in the Lyle School of Engineering and that the headwear she wears does not make her Middle Eastern.
Why isn’t our photo used for Science majors?Why did you decide to use our photo, @SMU? Is it because we are POC? Because I wore the hijab? — NJones (@nliben) October 15, 2015
“We are disappointed the mistake was made,” SMU said in a statement to NBC 5. “It was not intended to misrepresent anyone. We saw her concern and it has been addressed. The photo is now down.”
The Daily Campus has reached out to Liben and SMU for further comment.