NDSCS recognizes that social media is a powerful communications tool. A taskforce with representation from NDSCS students, faculty, staff and administration developed guidelines for the appropriate use of social media. The following guidelines help you use social media effectively with your personal and professional reputation, and college policies in mind.
Guiding Principles for Social Media Users
- Protect your—and NDSCS’s—good name. Identify yourself and your role at NDSCS when appropriate, especially during times you are working for or referencing NDSCS. Even in your personal social media use, you may be known as a member of NDSCS. Therefore, it is important to state clearly that personal opinions are in no way attributable to our college. Employees should exercise caution, sound judgment, and common sense when using social media.
- Protect your privacy as well as the privacy of other. Do not share passwords. Personal, confidential or proprietary information about employees, students, faculty, staff, and college partners must be safeguarded. Releasing this information could violate state and/or national laws (HIPAA, FERPA) and could cause you and the college to be liable for damages. Once something is publicly shared, it can never again be private.
- Be truthful while being positive. Comments should add value to the conversation. Honesty—or dishonesty—will be quickly noticed in a social media environment. Always use your real name and make sure you differentiate your personal identity from your college identity.
- Social media puts anyone on the world stage. The perceived distance and anonymity of social media sites sometimes makes it seem acceptable to write what we would never say face to face. Before making comments, ask yourself, “Would I be willing to make this next comment if I were standing in the same room with this individual?” If the answer is yes, go ahead. If the answer is no, then reconsider.
- Privacy online. Once something is online, chances are good that it will never go away completely. Do not post anything that you would not want your family or an employer to see—and do not write anything that you would be embarrassed to say to someone face-to-face. Some information should remain private and restricted from large audiences. Set and monitor privacy settings appropriately to protect yourself. Adjust settings to require approval for posting on your account. Protect passwords and remember to log out of your account when finished.
- Consequences for inappropriate use. Violating the expectations outlined in NDSCS Student Guide to Rights and Responsibilities or violating federal, state, or local laws while using social media may result in disciplinary action.
- Treat others with respect. Use respect as a guiding principle when interacting with others through social media. Treat others the way you expect to be treated. If you feel upset or angry about a subject, postpone commenting until you feel calm and rational enough to do so. Do not use slurs, personal insults, or obscenities. Social media should not be used to attack or insult others.
- Avoid or Report Inappropriate material. Students may find themselves in online conversations or on websites that contain inappropriate material—potentially even illegal material. Your best course of action is to log-off the site immediately and report your interaction to someone in authority.
- Electronic stalking or bullying. Using the Internet or other electronic means to bully, stalk or harass an individual is not tolerated at NDSCS. Examples of this type of stalking include making false accusations against another individual, monitoring someone’s activities, making threats, stealing someone’s identity, the solicitation of sex or gathering information in order to harass.
- Inappropriate images. Do not share sexually explicit photos or videos of yourself or others. Once those images are made public by sharing them with even one other person, you can never get them back. Images may be copied, re-posted and shared in a variety of ways. Sharing sexually explicit material of a minor, including you, may result in serious legal consequences.
- Only post what is yours to post. Don’t share photos, videos, or information about others without their permission. Don’t share photos, videos, or information about others without their permission. As a good rule of thumb do not discuss or post anything you would not openly share publicly.
- Getting a job following graduation. Do not post any information on your site or others’ sites that could be embarrassing to you later on. Employers often use social media to research candidates before they hire them. Do not post any information on your site or others’ sites (and this includes both words and pictures!) that could be embarrassing to you later on.
Right of NDSCS to Administer its Social Media Content
Except where precluded by law, the college may monitor social media sites and content that reference NDSCS. Official NDSCS social media sites are routinely monitored. Although individual social media communication is not routinely monitored, the college expects that communication concerning NDSCS will be professional, courteous and socially appropriate for an institution of higher education. The college reserves the right to remove or block any social media page, content or account that is harmful and/or inaccurate. The college will cooperate with law enforcement investigators regarding these communication channels.
Use of College Electronic Resources
Except where precluded by law, the college measures and monitors use of information technology resources. This includes, but is not limited to, storing, accessing and reviewing information received or sent through email or over the Internet. Although individual Internet usage is not routinely monitored, such monitoring is possible when requested by an appropriate official. The college will cooperate with law enforcement investigations. In addition, Internet sites deemed by the college to be unrelated or inconsistent with the mission of the college may be blocked from NDSCS’ network.
Use of the NDSCS Logo and NDSCS Graphics
NDSCS has implemented a licensing program and has visual standards to protect the interests and image of the college. The college name, logo, seal, mascot and other marks are exclusive NDSCS property. See the NDSCS Visual Standards Guide for complete information.
1-23-13 Approved by John Richman, President