Student Affairs Policies

V-1.20(A)

UMB POLICY ON STUDENT SOCIAL MEDIA PRIVACY

Student Affairs   |   Approved October 9, 2015


Responsible VP/AVP

Bruce Jarrell, MD, FACS


Applies to Faculty, Staff, Students


Revision History

Approved by the Board of Regents November 1, 2013; Amended by the Board September 19, 2014; Amended by the Board October 9, 2015


Policy Statement

  1. PURPOSE
    This policy recognizes the importance of privacy in a student’s personal activities involving the use of social media. It also recognizes that the use of social media by University employees plays a valuable and appropriate role in academic and career-based activities to the benefit of students. The purpose of this policy is to set forth appropriate rules to protect student privacy interests while permitting the use of social media for academic and career-based activities.
  2. DEFINITIONS
    1. "Non-Public Access Information" refers to the security information required to access a student's Personal Social Media Account. Examples include: passwords, login information or other private and confidential information required to gain access to a social media account.
    2. "Personal Social Media Account" refers to a social media account that allows social interaction and dissemination of information to others, created and maintained by a student, prospective student, or applicant in whole or in part for private use. It does not include:
      1. An account on a social media platform owned or provided by the University;
      2.  An account on a social media platform created by a student, prospective student, or applicant specifically for academic or University-assisted career-based activities; or
    3. Social Media are internet-based applications that enable users to participate in social networking by exchanging content with other users. Examples of "social media" include but are not limited to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, Tumblr, and Vine.
  3. STUDENT PRIVACY
    In accordance with the University System Policy on Student Social Media Privacy, University employees:
    1. Shall not require, request, suggest, or cause a student, prospective student, or applicant to disclose, grant access to, or allow observation of Non-Public Access Information pertaining to their Personal Social Media Accounts.
    2. Shall not require that a student, prospective student, or applicant change the privacy settings on a Personal Social Media Account.
    3. Shall not require a student, prospective student, or applicant to designate a University employee or agent of the University as a "friend", a "follower" or any other designation that would afford the employee or agent access to a Personal Social Media Account.
    4. Shall not require a student, prospective student, or applicant to log onto a Personal Social Media Account in the presence of a University employee or agent of the institution.
    5. Shall not require that a student, prospective student, or applicant provide names of the social media platforms that he/she employs.
  4. DISCIPLINE
    University employees shall not suspend, expel, discipline, penalize, or threaten to take any of the aforementioned actions against any student, prospective student, or applicant for refusing to provide information in response to a request that is prohibited under Section III of this Policy.
  5. LIMITATIONS
    This Policy does not prohibit the following activities
    1. University employees may require a student to provide access to a social media account provided that:
      1. The student has the option, at his or her own election, to complete the assignment or activity by using an existing Personal Social Media Account or by creating a generic social media account;
      2. Access is limited to the academic or career-based activity;
      3. The student is not required to provide Non-Public Access Information;
      4. The academic or career-based activity is designed and administered in a manner that is consistent with the institution’s FERPA obligations.

University employees are encouraged to obtain unit-level approval before instituting academic or career-based activities involving access to such accounts. In addition, University employees are encouraged to provide notice to students, in syllabi or other relevant written publications, when use of such accounts is required.

    1. University employees may access Personal Social Media Account information that has been voluntarily provided to them by a student, prospective student, applicant or third party.
    2. University employees may access publicly accessible information relating to a student, prospective student, or applicant’s Personal Social Media Account.
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