Policy Memo: Online Communications, Blogs and Journals
October 5, 2005
TO: All Trinity Students
FR: President Patricia McGuire
RE: Trinity Policy Regarding Online Communications, Blogs and Journals
Students have brought to my attention the fact that some students participate in various online journals, blogs and websites in which students may post pictures, profiles and thoughts about many things. This memo reminds you of Trinity’s policy on Technology and Telecommunications, and Trinity’s general expectations for student conduct online.
First, please be advised that Trinity does not sponsor, endorse or approve of any online website, blog, journal or other electronic site with the exception of Trinity’s own website. Trinity’s website is an institutional electronic publication for institutional information. Trinity may choose to post links to other websites that provide important information and access that supports Trinity’s mission and programs. Other organizations may not link to Trinity’s website or use Trinity’s name, logo, domain name or images without Trinity’s explicit permission. Only the President of Trinity or her designee may give such permission. Students may not give such permission to any outside organization. Trinity owns the domain “trinitydc.edu” and no person may use or give away that domain without my express permission.
Second, please read the Technology and Telecommunications Policy posted on the website.
You are responsible to comply with all parts of this policy. Violations of this policy carry penalties that can include suspension of your email and online privileges, and disciplinary action up to and including expulsion from Trinity.
Third, as Trinity’s policy clearly states, and as all policies that I have ever read on the various blogs and journals indicate, any use of our technology or communications media, or those external media, must reflect acceptable use standards, which specifically prohibit communications that harass, intimidate, libel or otherwise violate the rights of other people. You are free to express your opinions about the issues of the day. You are not free to characterize other students, faculty, staff or other people in ways that are demeaning and defamatory.
I have read some of the material that some students have posted on certain outside websites. Some of these postings clearly violate this acceptable use policy. If you post a comment that defames another student by name or by description, you will incur disciplinary action at Trinity, up to and including expulsion.
You may also be liable for a civil lawsuit by the victim of your libelous language.
Trinity will not accept liability for any conduct by any student that violates our Technology Policy and the policy stated in this communication. However, Trinity will take action to protect the rights of students who are victimized by the online conduct of other students.
Finally, I remind all students that just about anything you post online, even items you think are private, may ultimately be discovered by future employers and investigators for both public and private entities, and these may be used against you when you are seeking a job, a security clearance, entry to the bar, or other access to employment or social settings. What seems cool right now can be tragic ten years from now. You need to assume that there is no such thing as privacy online.
I urge you to be judicious in posting private personal information that may be exploited by others in the future. I urge you as well to use common sense and discretion in making comments about other people, your employer or institutions with which you are affiliated, including Trinity. Trash talk never reflects well on the author. I expect Trinity students to be able to articulate various points of view, including criticisms, with class and style, focused properly on issues, not people.
I am happy to discuss this with you.