US conference explores how far institutions should go to monitor Internet behaviour

February 8, 2011

At the National Conference on Law and Higher Education in Florida Monday, presenters and attendees grappled with the many thorny questions social networks pose for colleges, such as whether institutions have an obligation to monitor what students and staff post online. Some suggest schools should tread carefully, noting that a policy suggesting online behaviour will be monitored creates an obligation that institutions do so fairly and effectively. Colleges are also concerned about the potential for students to be harassed through anonymous online taunting. Rather than focusing on speech that may simply be offensive, institutions should concentrate on developing student codes of conduct that zero in on conduct that genuinely interferes with another student's educational activity, says an official at New Jersey's Rutgers University. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)