Social networking site policy not likely at Simpson

by Rachel Gull/Lifestyles Editor and Cory Keasey/Staff Writer

With so many students on social networking sites and an increasing number of adults and faculty joining sites like Facebook, policies at Simpson College may be affected.

Simpson currently has no means of monitoring social networking sites.

“The assumption here is that somebody is always on Facebook, running around looking at stuff,” Stephanie Krauth, associate dean of students, said. “We don’t have time for that.”

Other colleges are already putting social networking policies into place.

“It’s something that a lot of institutions are looking in to if they don’t have them; coming up with some type of policy,” said Director of Security Chris Frerichs.

Some schools in Iowa already have policies regarding social networking sites.

Loras College addresses social networking in its Electronic Communications and World Wide Web Policy.

“Social networking, because of its extremely volatile nature, presents strong possibilities, and hence temptations, for misuse,” the policy reads. “It is important, therefore, for all members of the College community to be aware of that fact and to be extremely committed to use such technology appropriately and to exhibit respect for the College, for one’s fellow humans, one’s self expressions and individualism. Inappropriate or questionable use will be addressed. If content is deemed inappropriate or disrespectful, it is expected the content be removed or corrected.”

The policy at Loras addresses the entire student body, but Wartburg College in Waverly has a policy in place to deal solely with student-athletes and social networking.

The policy states, “Student athletes should remember that they are representatives of Wartburg College and are in the public eye more so than other students. You should not post any information, photos or other items online that could embarrass you, your family, your team, the Department of Athletics or Wartburg College. This includes information that may be posted by others on your page.”

The policy goes on to say, “Coaches and the Department of Athletics administrators can and do monitor these Web sites regularly. Student athletes could face discipline and even dismissal for violations of this policy.”

Krauth doesn’t anticipate policies like these at Simpson.

“I don’t know if we’ll ever get there, and I’m not sure if I want us to,” Krauth said.

Frerichs said he anticipates situations arising with social networking sites in the future, but he does not expect there to be a campus-wide policy. Instead, he anticipates dealing with each case individually.

“A lot would depend on the specific incident and specific information being brought forward,” Frerichs said.

Freshman Alicia Kollenkark is not in favor of Simpson installing a campus-wide social networking policy.

“I don’t think they should,” Kollenkark said. “I think that’s a thing against our right of freedom. I don’t know what (other colleges’) policies are, but I think that if you have a policy to turn in illegal activity then you are infringing on our personal rights.”

Frerichs and Krauth do caution students to be careful about what they post on Facebook and other social networking sites.

“Students need to understand that safety is a big concern with social networking sites,” Frerichs said. “They do have to be concerned with what is being posted. Understand that just because it’s not on your site doesn’t mean it’s not on somebody else’s site. If you post it, there’s a potential that anybody has it to put on their site.”