UEA’s student union has been criticised for misquoting students and using pictures without their consent in promotional material.
Students claimed their images were used without permission and words falsely attributed to them in advertisements for the SU’s Societies’ Fayre in welcome week.
The series of graphics featured pictures of individual students next to quotes describing how they “said hello” to their society or a new passion at the SU’s fayre. In the images students were referred to by only their first name.
However, Film and Television graduate Evie Williams said she was not consulted about a graphic featuring a photo of her and a quote attributed to her.
She said: “The wording used on the post was written as if I said it.”
However, she had had no knowledge of the graphic until a friend messaged her after seeing it shared on SU social media accounts.
She also claimed the picture used was originally posted by a friend on Facebook on a friends-only viewing setting.
Posts containing the graphic featuring Miss Williams have since been deleted by the SU.
In a Facebook comment, the SU apologised to Miss Williams. They said: “We adapted the nominations we received for the Student Transformation Awards. We can remove this post and apologies again, you’re right, we should’ve given you the heads up and asked.”
Miss Williams said: “I didn’t nominate myself for an award, so if the wording was taken from nominations, it still wasn’t what I personally said.”
Another student, who wished to remain anonymous, said they had allowed their photo to be used for a graphic but they did not write the words used.
They said: “My main problem is they published what I ‘supposedly’ said without my permission and were fully aware that I had submitted my own statement, which was completely different to that.”
They added: “Nothing in there is what I wrote.”
SU Activities and Opportunities Officer Camille Koosyial said: “We’re really keen for incoming students to understand the transformative impact that getting stuck into student life at UEA can have- but in this case it looks like our enthusiasm has run away with us and we’ve used material like SU awards nominations or Facebook photos without checking first, which is unacceptable and for which we apologise.”
She added: “Our normal practice is obviously to seek proper permission from and involve students that are featured”.
A third student said he had given the SU full permission to feature his image.
He said: “I fully endorsed the usage.”
He said the words used for graphics he featured in were paraphrased from interactions with staff with his permission.
Miss Koosyial added any students who wished to “share their story” and be featured in the promotional campaign could do so by contacting the SU.