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Sophomore strife — the voice of UNC Class of 2019’s Facebook page, Kyle Meade

Sophomore Kyle Mead in the Student Union

Sophomore Kyle Mead in the Student Union

If you’re a UNC sophomore, you may have suddenly noticed an unusual amount of commotion within the UNC Chapel Hill Class of 2019 social media community. A recent slew of Facebook posts has caused quite an uproar among the sophomore class, sparking outrage and intense debate.

But you may not know much about the man behind the pandemonium: Kyle Meade.

In his first semester here as a transfer student from Long Island, New York, Meade is already making his name known. 

On Oct. 17, Meade, a sophomore political science major and member of UNC’s debate team, published what he believed to be a helpful post on the UNC Chapel Hill Class of 2019 Facebook page. In response to many of his classmates using the page as a lost and found for missing items, Meade voiced his opinion that students should be more careful with their belongings.

“A lot of people post on this group that they lose items, such as chargers, books, keys, cards and such,” Meade wrote in his post. “All of these things are personal property, and if you guys were real adults who had to work for everything they owned, including food, toilet paper, soap, and every other little household item, you would realize how valuable these things are since you would know it took hours upon hours of work to make the money to buy these items.” 

Meade expected a mixed response to his opinionated post, but did not expect the hostile backlash he received from his classmates.

“They were saying, ‘Sorry we can’t have the superiority complex that you have,’” Meade said. “And people were talking down, saying, ‘You think you’re so superior, you think you’re so great — but you’re not.’ People were just really mad about it.”

One student even posted a poll on the page, asking if admins should ban Meade — over 186 voted "yes" while only around 40 voted "no." 

Many students jumped to Meade’s defense, but that did not prevent critics from posting negative feedback in the comments and memes alike. Others tried to reason with him by explaining why his post was upsetting and pointing out the flaws in his logic, one going so far as to post a Wall Street Journal article on the science behind forgetfulness.

While most commenters critiqued the original post, others waged personal attacks against Meade, a few of them sending him scathing and crude private messages.

“They were personally attacking me, like on looks and whatever. People were trying to say I’m ugly,” Meade said. “One kid told me to go fuck myself.”

He mentioned one student in particular who private messaged him and called him a cunt. 

Despite the disparaging comments from his classmates, Meade has since gone on to publish posts on the UNC ‘19 page.

Each post has received similarly animated feedback from his peers. His post addressing President Obama’s UNC campus visit currently has 40 Facebook reactions and a thread of 64 comments. 

Matt Gilleskie, a sophomore quantitative biology major, doesn’t see a problem with Meade posting his opinion, but thinks Meade should change his methods if he hopes to actually influence people. However, Gilleskie feels that the comments by his peers are unnecessary. 

“I don’t think that his Facebook posts are making people’s days so much worse that they have to respond in the ways that they are,” Gilleskie said. “I mean, it doesn’t really matter. Just go on with your life.”

Despite speculation among students that Meade might merely be joking or “trolling” his peers with his posts, he insists that he is earnestly trying to foster discussion on what he feels are pertinent issues.

Sophomore pre-nursing major Keenan Cromshaw said he understands where Meade is coming from, but doesn’t agree with his approach. 

“If he’s serious about it, if he’s trying to do anything to change anybody’s opinion, I would recommend that he do it one-on-one — not over Facebook,” Cromshaw says. “It’s very hard to convince people over Facebook.”

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For now, Meade says he plans to continue posting on the Facebook page when he feels that there is a topic that merits discourse.

“I want people to know that I just don’t want there to be any hate against me, I’m just looking to create discussion,” Meade said. 

“There are still a lot of people who do hate on the posts and say that they’re annoying because they don’t agree. I would say that if you don’t agree with me, come find me and then talk to me in person.”

swerve@dailytarheel.com