KSA Introduces New Social Media Policy for Clubs

The policy sets out what clubs should and shouldn’t do on social media
Braden Klassen, Contributor

(Nat Mussell)

In a council meeting on May 19, the Kwantlen Student Association passed a new set of policies meant to regulate the content posted to social media by KPU clubs.

The policies aim to reinforce the existing policies of social media platforms, as well as promote inclusivity and prevent online bullying and harassment. Parts of the policy also address the protection of members’ private information, and the limiting of spam or aggressive posting.

“It’s largely targeted at public club communications,” says Jay Reedy, VP Student Life for the KSA. “It doesn’t have anything to do with someone’s personal posts. It doesn’t have anything to do with non-KSA affiliated social media or anything like that. This is solely for clubs that have identified themselves as KSA, and have a lot of public posts and things like that.”

While there are some clubs that do not use social media in any official capacity, there are a few that post more regularly, such as the Kwantlen Gaming Guild, which uses Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to communicate with members and followers.

The policy includes a list of things clubs and groups should do when posting to social media, like clearly separating between club and personal accounts, keeping personal email addresses private when sending mass emails, and making an effort to moderate any public discussions on club pages if they contravene the policy.

Clubs should not post content that is unlawful, misleading, or that contains personal information of someone without their permission. The policy also prohibits clubs from making “posts that are threatening, harassing, discriminatory, abusive, hateful, libelous, illegal, obscene, indecent, defamatory, embarrassing to another person, or hostile towards any individual or entity.”

According to Reedy, the KSA has not had any issues with clubs’ social media posts in the past, and he describes the new policy as “more of a pre-emptive measure.”

“We just realised that there was kind of a need for something like this because we didn’t have any recourse if someone was to be harassed online,” he says. “We wanted to make sure that we had a means to be able to take a stand against cyber bullying and harassment.”

“It’s always been within the KSA’s vision to create an inclusive space as far as student groups go, and make sure that people are free from harassing and prejudice,” he adds.

To that end, the new social media policy’s procedures mandate “that the KSA hold semesterly inclusivity training covering topics including but not limited to social media practices, cyber bullying and harassment, and fostering an online environment free of prejudice.” Reedy says this training will be similar to the inclusivity training that KSA Councillors and Executives receive.

“Note that we’re not trying to limit free speech at any point here, as long as that freedom is being expressed within the law,” he says.

Clubs are required by the policy to state that their posts do not reflect the views of the KSA, however this is not meant to prevent them from making posts that could be critical of the organization.

“This doesn’t really have anything to do with anyone making negative posts about the KSA,” says Reedy. “We certainly wouldn’t be using this policy to go after that. This is more on the individual harassment side. It’s a function of government that you should be able to complain about government.”

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