Universities are updating their (or implementing) social media policies to limit the ability for academics to express their personal views on platforms such as Twitter. For example it would be particularly difficult for an academic to criticize their own employer. Such as in the case of the recent USSStrike activities, and the positions that different universities took. What is more, engagement with any debate that could be viewed to be controversial (however legitimate) might be used as grounds for disciplinary action or ultimately dismissal.
For example aspects of the University of Exeter (a regular to this site!) policy are concerning. E.g.:
- "Employees should comment within their own area of expertise to provide unique, individual perspectives on non-confidential activities at the University."
- "The University’s response to any misuse of social media in a personal capacity will be reasonable and proportionate to the perceived offence; the nature of the postings/comments made and the impact or potential impact on the University."
- "Social networking sites may be referred to when investigating possible misconduct/gross misconduct."
- "The University may require employees to remove social media postings which are deemed to constitute a breach of these standards and failure to comply with such a request may, in itself, result in disciplinary action."
More to come in future on this topic!