A tenured sociology professor at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., landed in hot water because of his activity on Facebook. A college news site found the professor’s posts—one of which included an offensive hashtag and reference to last summer’s congressional shooting in Virginia—and published them online. Instantaneously, the story sparked national attention. Trinity had to close its doors at one point as the professor and campus received death threats.
In the age of social media, incidents like this occur frequently. The solution: Colleges and universities need to proactively prevent these types of social media issues from wreaking havoc on their reputations and day-to-day activities.
Most higher-education institutions have social media policies, but applying and communicating these policies often falls into a gray area. When colleges and universities leave social media dos and don’ts open for interpretation, they leave their institutions vulnerable to unwanted controversy.