Sep 292010
 
Authors: Keeley Blakley

Colorado State University may be checking up on the Facebook sites of campus groups, but officials say they have no intention of censoring the student population on social media sites.

The university is currently working on a social media policy to approve online accounts of CSU colleges, departments, groups and programs.

The policy is designed to ensure the university is represented accurately, protected legally and can maintain a positive reputation.

These groups are not required to register their social media accounts with the university.

However, there are benefits to having a social media account that is officially recognized by CSU, said Kimberly Sorensen, spokeswoman for the university.

For one, officially recognized pages can use CSU’s logos and trademarked material on their pages. These organizations also have access to resources to improve social media accounts.

This policy is not designed to restrict or censor students or groups on campus, Sorensen said.

“The best practice is not to delete negative comments,” said Sorensen.  “People need to vent and it’s important for us to hear.”

Social media accounts have terms of use policies that are easily breached said Robert Schur, director of CSU’s Office of Policy and Compliance. The university is responsible when official CSU social media pages breach these agreements.

Some of the concerns are that CSU social media pages could contain words or graphics that are copyrighted. The university and account creator could be liable for copyright infringement, which could result in a criminal case.

If organizations and departments register their sites, the Social Media Policy staff, which is an arm of the Division of External Relations, could help eliminate the possibility of breaking the copyright laws.

Applications are normally processed in three to five business days. Nearly 100 social media accounts have already been approved as part of a “soft launch” of the draft policy, Sorensen said.  

Officially recognized CSU pages must have two CSU staff members, who are chosen by the group creating the site, as administrators on the account.

The policy, however, says that inappropriate or illegal content may be removed or modified by CSU.

 This part of the policy allows the university to ensure that social media accounts are used by CSU in a responsible way, Sorensen said.

Though the policy does not stipulate how often an administrator should check the account, Sorensen said that administrators should check their social media accounts on a daily basis to provide fresh content.

 “It’s really what you make of it,” Sorensen said. “Your Facebook account will succeed if you put the work in.”

CSU President Tony Frank’s Cabinet is expected to approve the policy by the end of the semester.

Staff writer Keeley Blakley can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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