New social media guidelines are hindering student voices

By Mikayla Silcox

Elm Staff Writer

Washington College published the 2022-2023 college catalog on Monday, Sept. 12, where they implemented new social media guidelines. The guidelines target content that contains

copyrighted material without consent, including the school’s name and logo, as well as content harassing individuals of the college.

The new guidelines could be attributed to Instagram pages like @wacmilkdrinkers and @this_food_is_wac2, where student voices have taken over social media with comical posts about WC students and the school’s dining service.

While WC may try to shut down potential bullying or slander, the reality of the situation seems gauged toward the school getting in trouble at the cost of the student’s voices.

Freshman Brooke Thomas had her picture taken and posted on the @wacmilkdrinkers page. She was mocked and labeled “criminal #5” for her crime: drinking a cup of milk.

Thomas said she understood the humor in the page and did not see the correlation between a lighthearted post and harassment.

“Pages like this are meant to be harmless. While it may depend on who’s running them, there is ultimately no harm to anyone’s safety,” Thomas said.

These newly implemented rules hinder students from making fun of the situations on campus, like peers drinking milk at dinner. The social media accounts are part of small community fun that is a central part of WC.

The guidelines about copyright and the inability to utilize WC’s name in social media are without basis.

“I feel as if these accounts – such as mine – don’t endorse anything about the school or claim to have an affiliation with the college, so it does seem like a violation for them to try and come for these accounts,” said @wacmilkdrinkers.

Accounts such as @wac_shorefit and @wac.sea post in relation to the college without being under any threat. The new rules may try to take down pages like @wacmilkdrinkers and use their affiliation with the college as more solidified evidence than subjective “harassment.”

While the guidelines against bullying on social media have good intentions, the banning of posts that are obscene or defamatory are selfish of the college, as any posts that make the college look bad are being cut at the cost of student voice.

@this_food_is_wac2 may be targeted under this premise, when in reality, the page is discussing issues on campus. While captions such as “WC is serving up some liquid that looks like it was sourced from the Chester River” may be taken by the school as a violation, the page uses pictures straight from the dining hall.

Students should have the right to post the school as they see fit. While some comments may reflect negatively on WC, they should be used as a basis for change. The voice of student life should be uplifted and heard instead of silenced in shame.

The new social media guidelines are intended to stop harassment in its tracks and maintain a good image for the College, but students should be allowed to have fun with each other and make comments about their school.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Photo Caption: Washington College recently released new social media guidelines, prohibiting accounts from using the school’s name or logo without permission.

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