August 24, 2021
K-State develops new social media usage policy for students
As part of the Action Plan for a More Inclusive K-State, Kansas State University has developed a new social media usage policy for students. The new policy has been approved by university leadership and balances institutional values and commitment to free speech.
The new policy describes the benefits and opportunities of social media and sets the expectation that students, as K-State community members, will use responsible and ethical behavior on social media. The policy encourages students to consider the ramifications and consequences of their messages and content before posting. The policy also includes resources available to students and provides information for when the university may take corrective action regarding certain social media conduct or content.
A seven-member core leadership team of administrators, faculty, staff and students developed the policy. Thomas Lane, vice president for student life and dean of students, served as the lead administrator. Other team members included Shari Crittendon, general counsel; Andy Thompson, senior associate dean and director of student life; Laurel Moody, assistant dean, student life; Jana Thomas, professor of practice and sequence head for strategic communications in the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and Zach Perez, junior in mass communications. In addition, the 20-member Student Code of Conduct Revision Committee provided input into the policy.
"I want to thank all of our students, faculty and staff who helped draft and review this policy. Their feedback was essential to creating a policy that resonates with all areas of our university community," Lane said. "Our new policy balances concern for student well-being with First Amendment rights. It is a step in the right direction toward building a more inclusive K-State."
The new policy involves four pieces: invite, remind, inform and support.
- Invite students to take advantage of the opportunities inherent in social media, including opportunities to stay informed, inspire action, explore new ideas and express themselves freely.
- Remind students that as members of the K-State community, they are expected to conduct themselves responsibly and ethically on social media.
- Inform students that any social media activity that violates the law, goes against university codes of conduct, or has the potential to disrupt student learning and campus operations is prohibited and subject to corrective action.
- Support students with resources and guidance as they navigate changing media environments and balance institutional and societal values with first amendment rights to freedom of expression.
The new social media usage policy is one of 11 steps in the Action Plan for a More Inclusive K-State. The 11 distinct action steps aim to address racial and social injustice issues at the university. Track the university's progress on the plan.