Universities Might Have To Limit Monitoring, Set Social Media Policies In Stone Under Proposal

Ann McClure's picture

In an age when voluntarily sharing one’s intimate information on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites is common, a proposal to limit what content universities have access to seems out of step.

But state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, said there should be a limit to the power university administrators have over students in Texas, where there is no law to prevent schools from requiring individuals to give up their personal social media login and password information.

Duke’s proposal also addresses employer monitoring. Under it, universities and employers would have to make social media rules and consequences clear. Those found in violation would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and could be fined up to $1,000. Michigan, Maryland and California have similar laws.

An in-depth look into how Texas campuses keep tabs on students’ virtual musings finds no consistent policy, but did find a common subject: student-athletes. In general, universities say such monitoring is needed to protect their reputations and to protect high-profile students from themselves.

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