6 November 2017
The Vice-Chancellor and President has approved the new Social Media - Managerial Policy, for immediate implementation across the USC Community.
The policy reinforces that the expectation of 'a safe, inclusive, diverse and supportive learning environment', as set out in the USC Student Charter, extends beyond campus to the online environment.
Social media is a powerful tool and can provide positive opportunities for learning, engaging, connecting and collaborating - when used responsibly.
The same standards of behaviour apply online as they do in 'real life' including including laws, University policies and behavioural expectations such as respect, courtesy and professionalism. The same consequences also apply for breaching them, including disciplinary processes. The best question to ask yourself is: “Would I say or do this to the person’s face?” If the answer is “no”, then it’s probably not okay online either.
As a USC student, posts on social media that are rude, offensive, gossip or rumour-spreading, racist, sexist, homophobic, belittling, bullying or harassing, threatening or unwanted by the recipient are clearly inconsistent with the expectations of behaviour set out in the Student Conduct - Governing Policy and Anti-Discrimination and Freedom from Bullying and Harassment (Students) - Governing Policy.
Think before you post. What you publish online can remain public for a long time, even if you delete it. Content can also be replicated and shared beyond the original intended audience and sent to people you never expected to see it, or who may view it out of context.
In addition to the policy, all members of the University community are advised to consult the Social Media – General Guidelines. These guidelines provide explicit examples of inappropriate behaviour to avoid. Where a student’s activity on social media is suspected of breaching University policy, or has the potential to impact on the USC's reputation, the University will act in accordance with the relevant policy.
It doesn’t just apply when you are using USC student emails or social media services provided by the University - the policy also covers “identifiable private use of social media” which is use of social media in a way that may associate the user with USC and/or may have an impact on the University or on members of the USC community.
If you are responsible for a social media site, channel or group which is associated with USC, you should ensure that there is a prominent disclaimer stating that the opinions expressed on that site or group do not represent USC. Use of the USC logo is not allowed except for on official sites, as per arrangement with the University’s Marketing and External Engagement team.