Pacific Lutheran University supports all of our community members taking part in social media and posting, blogging, or tweeting about their experiences. While there are great opportunities within social media, there is also the possibility of a host of unintended consequences. Pacific Lutheran University does not monitor all activity on social media; however, if social media activity that is deemed inappropriate or offensive is brought to the attention of PLU, actions may be taken. Specifically, if a social media activity is connected (either formally or informally) or tagged in reference to Pacific Lutheran University, students are expected to adhere to expectations and standards of the institution. These following guidelines are intended to help all students understand these implications and the risks associated with participating in social media.
When Posting as an Individual
Pacific Lutheran University uses social media to supplement press and marketing efforts. PLU encourages and supports students and community members to share University news, events, and happenings over social media. It is important to acknowledge that when social media is used for personal purposes, but connects to Pacific Lutheran University, that individual might be perceived as an agent or expert of PLU, and be associated with PLU and the University’s mission. Students should understand that by mentioning PLU or sharing PLU’s information over social media, they are automatically serving as a representative of the University, and need to understand those implications in what they are posting.
What Happens If a Complaint Occurs?
PLU officials will never search for social media activity by students, staff, or faculty members. However, if notification comes to PLU regarding activity that could be construed as inappropriate, disrespectful, or offensive, action can be taken. Additionally, if potential violations of the Student Code of Conduct are brought to the attention of PLU administrators, action can be taken. If activity on social media can be construed as being a representative of PLU, additional responsibilities need to be understood. Examples of such conduct may include, but are not limited to:
- Content that can be interpreted that could infringe on the rights of an individual’s identities, including race, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, club or organization affiliation, etc.
- Content in violation of state or federal laws
- Content that displays clear violations of the PLU student code of conduct
The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities acknowledges that all individuals have a right to freedom of speech and expression as it relates to online activity. However, it is also the responsibility of all PLU community members to understand the impact words or actions can have on other people, and how that could infringe on the rights of individuals.