• The Workplace
  • Report
  • Higher Ed

Manage Risks Associated With Faculty Use of Social Media

February 2021

Why Read This

College and university faculty have increasingly found themselves at the center of firestorms due to their use of social media. Faculty engaging in controversial behavior on social media can negatively impact their institutions by causing a decline in enrollment, reducing funding from alumni and other donors, and increasing liability exposure.

In these circumstances, colleges and universities are placed in the difficult position of balancing the faculty member’s rights to free speech at public institutions and academic freedom with the right of students and employees to be free from unlawful harassment and discrimination. This report explores actions institutions can take to help manage the risks associated with faculty social media usage.

Key Takeaways

  • Explicitly outline your institution’s values, and reinforce the values in institutional policies.
  • Review codes of conduct to ensure that they are broad enough to cover possible abuses of social media, such as harassment or defamation.
  • Develop forums wherein faculty, students, and administrators can engage with one another about the parameters of free speech and academic freedom inside and outside the classroom.

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