Technology and Student Affairs #2

Why is technology vilified in Student Affairs?

This session from PaperClip Communications is full of shock and awe:
“Liabilities, judicial impact, legal issues, thorny topics, and professional dangers”

Facebook, Myspace: Liabilities, Judicial & Legal Matters

Every day a new set of issues, concerns, liabilities and legal precedents are set in relationship to cyber communities.

Sites like Facebook and MySpace are rapidly evolving, attracting more and more users. Cyber communities are rapidly developing into a new social and communication platform for college students.

With this new platform comes a whole new set of legal issues, judicial concerns and potential liabilities for every college and university.

Join a panel of experts and your colleagues for a cross-campus discussion on the legal and judicial impacts of cyber communities.

During this dynamic live event you’ll hear from a panel of attorneys who will address thorny topics such as:

  • What’s the status of free speech online when using university servers to access cyber community sites?
  • Does monitoring cyber community sites create a new “duty of care” and therefore open the institution to new liabilities?
  • What legal status do the provider’s terms of usage have on campus? Are there conflicting legalities between the cyber communities and the university?
  • What legal rights exist for an institution to document on-line actions in real world judicial proceedings?

As the digital world evolves so do the legal ramifications surrounding these popular sites. There is a need for developing policy and reconsidering procedures as campuses consider how these digital domains intersect with the real campus world.

We will also discuss issues such as:

  • What students may not, but should, know about their online community agreement.
  • How addressing student conduct online impacts a student’s Freedom of Speech.
  • If your institution reviews student activity/behavior/speech in online communities, are you as an institution opening yourself up to liability? Have you created a new duty of care standard that you will be held to?
  • What are the implications for using information obtained from online communities in judicial hearings? What can be used, what should be used, should you use it at all?
  • What are the implications of using this information in hiring or selection processes? Can or should cyber communities be consulted as part of the admissions process?
  • What is the most effective plan for educating students about the personal and professional dangers associated with online communities? What is working, what is not? We will discuss what best practices are being employed by institutions across the country today to educate students.”

I think it’s important to educate all student affairs practitioners about the complete picture of online communities. It is important for us to know whether or not we have a duty of care. However, I do not think that “fear sessions” create a technologically competent profession. Where are the NASPA, ACPA, and Paperclip sessions on Facebook/MySpace.com and their potential benefits to retention and academic success? I think we should look at technology like we look at other areas in student affairs. Why do we not think holistically about technology?