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SHSU Social media policy scrapped

Associate News Editor

Published: Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Updated: Thursday, November 17, 2011 01:11

social media policy

Stephen Green | The Houstonian

SAFELY ERADICATED. One vandalized free speech wall and an official committee later later, the official Sam Houston State University Social Media Policy has been officially dropped, a mere eleven months after its original commission by University President Dana L. Gibson in January 2011.

The SHSU Social Media Policy and Procedure Manual has been eliminated, according to a member of the social media committee.

Steven Perry, Student Government Association representative, said the committee decided to stop working with the current policy and start work on goals for a new one. This was also confirmed by other committee members.

"The committee ultimately decided that instead of amending the proposed policy, we would rebuild it from the ground up to best affect the needs of both the University and the student body," Perry said.

The committee, which consists of faculty, staff and administration members in addition to Perry, was formed to examine the issue of social media in light of the controversy around the policy.

The policy was an effort of Assistant Vice-President of Marketing and Communications Kris Ruiz. Several student and faculty organizations protested against the policy as a "violation of the right to free speech."

Adam Kissel, VP of Programs for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), spoke on campus in October against the policy and warned other students of other policies that may be in effect.

"You need to be empowered [to question]," Kissel said.

"Like John Stuart Mill said, ‘The idea that you hate might be right.' But you have to have conversations with people to know if you do, and if nowhere else it should be on a college campus."

Organizations including the SHSU Lovers of Liberty, College Republicans, Bearkat Democrats and Young Democratic Socialists held a protest against the policy with a free speech wall that was dismantled after being damaged by a professor with a box-cutter.

Perry said the committee will being discussing what will be in the policy they create in the coming weeks. The purpose for the committee was to look at the social media policy, as well as deal with other issues relating to social media and the university.

Other committee members include Ken Hendrickson, Ph.D., adviser for NORML Kats and SHSU Lovers of Liberty, Paul Loeffler, Ph.D., faculty senator who spoke out against the policy; and Debbi Hatton, professor of mass communication and free speech expert.

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