When it comes to social media at Murray State, students, faculty and staff are liable to a policy some might be unaware of.
The “Murray State University Media, Web and Mobile Communications Policy” was created in June 2013 to set guidelines for anyone affiliated with the University. The policy discusses best practices on social media, defines the communication and lays out administrator responsibilities.
The policy also explains trademark violations and the courses of action that will be taken if Murray State is misrepresented.
Aida De La Fuente, senior from Louisville, Ky., knew a social media policy exists, but did not see the full policy until recently.
“I definitely think it is an important policy for people to understand,” De La Fuente said. ‘Through the years social media has been seen as a form of ‘escape’ from reality for certain individuals; in effect, it has been abused, and become and outlet for bullying, stereotyping and exposing personal information.”
Dana Howard, social media and marketing manager at Murray State, helped develop the policy for a year before it was released.
The policy states that “all official use accounts should register any and all social media platforms with the University Communications office” through an online form.
“We’re asking everyone on campus to register their media account if it’s an office or organization, not for us to control it, but to know who’s official and who’s not,” Howard said. “There has to be someone who has a feel of how the University is represented from the inside out.”
Howard said it is important for students, faculty and staff to reference the social media policy. She said the policy will need to be updated as social media changes and progresses.
Kevin Qualls, assistant professor in the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business, has watched that change and progression from a media law perspective.
If a social media account is using a Murray State logo or the name, the University can file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act complaint against the individual or group running the account. The complaint goes through the host site and most of the time, the account is taken down, Qualls said.
Howard and University Communications have used this act in coordination with the policy to have Murray State-affiliated, negative accounts removed.
Qualls discussed several current and past cases involving new media and its parameters in regard to freedom of speech in the U.S. He said court cases in the future will help set guidelines for social media policies in business and higher education.
Said Qualls: “I think every environment should have some kind of social media policy.”
Story by Lexy Gross, Editor-in-Chief