The latest American Council on Education (ACE) “To the Point” brief, “Campus Inclusion and Freedom of Expression: Managing Social Media,” written by Robert H. Jerry II focuses on how and why campus leaders should be proactive in managing social media platforms, as well as how to respond to problems that arise. The brief lists the most commonly asked questions about free speech and social media in the higher education setting as well as case studies of First Amendment disputes involving social media.
Professor Jerry writes, “Recent events on college campuses—and throughout society generally—have frequently juxtaposed the values of diversity and inclusion against those of freedom of expression, which creates complex challenges for college and university leaders, many of whom want to encourage robust critical thinking and the free expression of ideas, but do not want to adversely affect the student experience or diminish the learning environment. This To the Point brief provides communications and legal counsel teams and others wrestling with these issues with observations and insights—informed by the First Amendment and case law—regarding social media’s implications for the tension between campus inclusion and freedom of expression.”
The paper lists several considerations for campus leadership when crafting social media policies. It also gives tips for how to align these policies with free speech rights.