ICSR forum allowed students, administrators to talk Twitter

Michael McKay

Students were able to get to chance to speak face to face with administrators about social media policies on Tuesday.

The Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility hosted a forum entitled “#FreeSpeech? Social Media at WKU,” which focused around a policy in the student handbook saying, “accessible communications deemed inappropriate may lead to disciplinary action.”

Robbin Taylor, vice president for Public Affairs, told the group in attendance that the policy has been removed from the handbook.

“My understanding is that its been taken down for editing,” Taylor said after the forum.

Taylor said she wouldn’t be able to answer specific questions about the policy, like when it was removed.

A resolution by SGA senator Christopher Costa about the policy was read before SGA a month ago, launching discussions about whether the policy was appropriate, including an article about the policy from the Associated Press.

Eric Bain-Selbo, head of the Philosophy and Religion department and moderator of the forum, said he wanted to have a discussion about a topic that “there was a buzz around campus” about.

“Most students go through a learning curve and become more responsible, we are learning that on a social level,” Bain-Selbo said.

Louisville junior Brian Campbell said he is responsible with what he posts on social media.

“I don’t feel any pressure by the university to censor what I say,” Campbell said. “I choose to represent the university in a positive light because that’s the way I feel about the university. I never felt if I had something to say that I would be reprimanded for that.”

Campbell said he thought the policy in its current form wasn’t clear.

“I think it needs to be clarified,” he said. “There are some misconceptions about what the university’s aim is, about preventing cyber-bullying and harassment as opposed to regulating speech, clarity. If I have to say one thing, there needed to be clarity.”

Bain-Selbo said he thought it would be nice if there were a coming together of students and administrators to determine an appropriate policy.

“I think it’s very reasonable to change it,” he said.