College political leaders, social media prove to be dangerous combination

Experts say student politicians should treat tweets like press conferences.

After a tweet and a viral video ended the campus political careers of two Texas college students, higher-education politicos have advice for their brethren: Adopt an official social media policy, and be more careful about what you post on Facebook and Twitter.

Concern over how up-and-coming campus political activists are using social media comes after a high-ranking Texas college Republican was caught on video using a gay slur, and two University of Texas (UT) Republican officials dispatched a message on Twitter about assassinating President Obama and another deemed racist by campus Republicans and Democrats alike.

Cassandra Wright, president of the UT Republicans, was the latest college political leader to draw national ire when on Dec. 18 she posted on Twitter, “My president is black, he snorts a lot of crack. Holla! #2012.”

“I don’t really see anything wrong with it,” Wright said shortly after her tweet was posted, according to media reports. “It’s just a personal comment, not representative of any group. Just freedom of speech, you know?”

Wright became president of the UT Republican group after former president Lauren Pierce posted a controversial tweet the same day a man fired several shots at the White House.

“Y’all as tempting as it may be, don’t shoot Obama. We need him to go down in history as the WORST president we’ve EVER had! #2012,” Pierce tweeted Nov. 16.

Politicos from campuses across the country said the regrettable tweets show the need for a thought-out social media policy among campus political organizations, including a designated person to monitor all Facebook and Twitter messages before they are made public.

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