Professors take stand on accepting student friend requests via social media websites

This is the second story in our social media series. The features writers at The News will report on how students and professors are using social media and how they can use the sites to best of their ability.


Everyone today has some kind of social networking site. Although preferences vary between Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, most people cannot go very long without checking their social networking accounts.

Many students have strong opinions on social media and proper etiquette. However, students also wonder if professors felt the same way about staying connected with family, friends, students and colleagues. Do they really get involved in social media as students do every day? Would professors accept a friend request from a student?

In reality, most professors use email and the Canvas infrastructure to communicate with students.

However, some professors such as Marcie Hinton, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications, don’t see a problem with accepting a friend request on Facebook from a student.

“I will accept the friend request from the student, but I will not send them one, in case they want to maintain privacy,” Hinton said. “I encourage students to join LinkedIn and request a connection because that is a professional site that can result in connecting me as a recommender to a potential employee.”

Despite students sending the request, other professors feel as though Facebook is a more private social media platform.

For that reason Robert Lochte, chair of the department of journalism and mass communications would not accept a student’s friend request.

“I normally don’t accept the friend request of a student because I don’t think they want me to know about their personal lives,” Lochte said. “Facebook is something I use every day, and I don’t see it as a problem for other professors to accept the request.”

Though this may seem strange to students, some professors navigate the fine line of social media etiquette by avoiding it all together.

“I would not accept the request from a student, simply because I don’t have one but if I did, I would rather meet face to face,” said Donald Bridgeman, professor of Humanities and Fine Arts.

Though Bridgeman prefers the face-to-face interaction that social media cannot produce, he does not feel like accepting a friend request from a student is inappropriate.

“I don’t have a problem with accepting the request, only if it’s outside of the classroom,” he said. “That would be socially acceptable in my opinion.”

Many professors use Facebook and other forms of social media for business only. Everyone has their own opinion about social networking and how it works, but it depends on the professor if they were to accept or deny your request.


Story by Mckenzie Willett, Staff Writer and Hunter Harrell, Assistant Features Editor