WEST LAFAYETTE — Purdue researchers' claim that the border wall could pay for itself spread like wildfire on social media this week.
The Facebook post linking to the research proposal amassed 12,500 shares and counting.
However, the social media attention also came with nearly 300 comments, many of which asked why a public university like Purdue was weighing in on such a controversial political issue.
Senior strategist for Purdue's Office of Public Affairs Steve Tally said he had never seen a post have three times the number of shares as it did reactions.
"What we're looking for is a conversation and discussion and social media isn't always the best for that, but we are seeing some people take the idea seriously," Tally said.
Facebook users accused the scientists and engineers of overstepping their bounds by getting involved in immigration policy.
And to that, Luciano Castillo, a professor of Renewable Energy and Power Systems and lead of the project, would agree.
"We're not experts in that," he said.
What they are experts in is problem solving.
Many Facebook opponents on either side of the political aisle would be surprised to hear their own rhetoric about jobs, security, and collaboration mirrored in the proposal had they read beyond the headline.