Universities monitoring academics’ social media presence, causes intimidation and blatant harassment of privacy.
Social media presence by academics
A Ph.D. student from Cardiff University went to social media to steam out her stress, anxiety, and unusual body pain and headaches from doing academe related tasks. Grace Krause posted on her Twitter,
“Staff are making us submit hundreds of essays in an impossibly short time. It is exhausting, putting all of us in crisis mode. The stress, morose, and moodiness is drowning me.”
Krause was still a bit emotional at that moment after a colleague has just committed suicide inside the campus over issues of the heavy workload at school. Her emotions consumed her along with the stress she was getting from the academe, and social media was her way of releasing it all.
A few days after Krause posted on Twitter, an email was sent to all Ph.D. students at Cardiff University, prohibiting them from posting contents that are school-related, which can be damaging to the university’s reputation.
It was an emotional thing for us. Instead of reaching out to us, here they are shutting us down.
Students from different universities are getting more convinced that their respective colleges are monitoring their social media presence very closely.
Is there a reason for universities to be concerned with what students post?
Universities worry a lot about the impact on student enrollment from the negative criticisms that can be generated out of social media posts. As a response, they are clamping down on student discussion about workload, racism, and sexual harassment in universities.
A researcher in higher education at the Manchester Institute of Education has confirmed the existence of surveillance issues in universities.
Universities acknowledge the importance of social media presence in recruiting students, attracting researchers, and promote brand awareness.
However, from the universities’ standpoint, it is a matter of professionalism. Inappropriate content over the internet can as well create more anxiety and depression for others reading it. If they have concerns regarding university issues, they can address it through proper channels and not through social media.
Universities acknowledge the benefits that social media presence brings into their reputation and marketability, but, at the same time, they also feel the need to regulate it in a way that students should be wary of what they post. The internet is a powerful tool. It can either build you or destroy you, and with improper regulation, it will eventually end up with the latter.