The University of Washington School of Law has proposed new Social Media Guidelines urging students “not post anything that could be viewed as discriminating in any way regarding race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and physical/mental disabilities.”
The document referenced the university’s Student Conduct Code, which, if violated according to the school’s standards, can result in punishment. Some fear that the moving goal posts of what qualifies under the standards, changes based on what is trending in politics or on social media at any given moment. They are also concerned that what may be benign one day can be seen as offensive another. Others were concerned about the long-term 1st Amendment ramifications.
Campus Reform first obtained the draftlist of “Best practices for social media,” which stated that “Discriminatory harassment and sexual harassment are prohibited.”
The guidelines also instructed students to “not post anything that could be viewed as discriminating in any way regarding race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and physical/mental disabilities.” The guidelines instructed students to “think twice before posting” and reminded them that “privacy does not exist in the world of social media.”
“Search engines can turn up posts years after they are created, and comments can be forwarded, photographed, and copied. Even deleted posts can exist in perpetuity. If you would not say it at a conference, in a classroom, or to a colleague, consider whether you should refrain from posting it online. If you are unsure about posting something or responding to a comment, step away from your device and take a break before posting.”
Anna Endter, associate dean for students at the UW School of Law, told Campus Reform, “We developed these social media guidelines to provide best practices for our students after several episodes this year in which students reported feeling bullied and targeted in social media posts. We are deeply committed to providing a welcoming, respectful learning and working environment. We feel that the social media guidelines support these values.”