Beware the web: new social media policy in the works


Illustration by Erin Carpenter.
By Rachel Luchmun

A social media policy is currently under review to be approved by the Board. This update follows the controversy surrounding the suspension of four nursing students following a picture posted on Facebook in January.

The social media policy is currently being reviewed by the legal counsel. After any changes, it will be presented to the board. If it is voted for, the policy should come into effect by the end of the year. Pete Belk, director of admissions, said that the policy would replace the guidelines currently in place.

“We used to only have social media guidelines, not a specific policy,” Belk said. “In the case of the nursing students, the college felt their actions fell under existing policy [relating to the student code of conduct].”

The new social media policy will take a harder stand on what is acceptable to post online. It will affect both staff and students.

“The students are expected to follow the student handbook, and faculty have a similar code of conduct,” Belk said. “This policy will bridge things together.”

The college makes a difference between student discontent and actual threats made against the college. Belk said the college only took action against valid threats.

“We don’t take things down [from the JCCC Facebook page] when students complain about, for example, the non-smoking policy,” Belk said. “We only act when there is an actual threat made – whether by insinuating bodily harm or slander.”

To keep abreast of mentions of the college on the Internet, the college uses software that scans websites for its name and returns posts containing it. This could include blog post, twitter posts and Facebook posts.

Erick Mbembati, Student Senate Vice President, said that students should be aware of the policy and guidelines regarding social media.

“I would encourage students to be careful as to what they post on Facebook or Twitter,” Mbembati said. “Matters relating to the college should remain in the boundaries of the college.”

Student Margret Jones is a Facebook user and said that she felt the policy made sense.

“I think students should realize that college is serious and that they are not free to do whatever they want,” Jones said. “It’s common sense, really.”

The policy comes at a time when social media is more and more becoming an important part of college life. Issue 3 of the Campus Ledger reported that a student was suspended over a threat made on Twitter. In January, four nursing students were suspended following a picture posted on Facebook. One of them, Doyle Byrnes, brought the matter to court.

Until the policy is made public, students are advised to follow the social media guidelines, as well as the guidelines contained in the student handbook. Both can be accessed on the JCCC website at

Contact Rachel Luchmun, staff reporter, at


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