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Merrimack College vs. Social Media

Elizabeth Fitzgerald ‘15

Copy & Features Editor

Better think twice about posting that picture. If Merrimack officials find it offensive, students could be punished, said college administrators.

“If we can trace content back that is offensive, yes we can definitely bring them up on charges for violating community standards,” says Preston Croteau, director of Community Standards.

Recently, Merrimack has received some unwanted publicity for an inappropriate picture posted on Barstool’s Instagram account. Sites like Boston Barstool, Smack College and other types of social media enable students to post anonymously about their schools and classmates. As often times these posts are derogatory, the wrong message is sent about these universities and their students.

“We don’t have a policy that is specific to social media, but we do have a policy that covers all type of communication,” said Croteau. Croteau further explained that this policy is designed to prevent harassing, inappropriate or disrespectful behavior. Any misuse in social media could fall under this policy.

Some may be under the impression that social media is a “safe zone” in which the school cannot interfere with. However, that is not the case. Even the anonymous posts can be traced back to the sender if it is offensive enough. Typically the college only pursues cases where a specific person or small group of people are targeted opposed to a large group or generalizing case.

Merrimack is attempting to further spread the positivity by using the hashtag #mackact. Students can get involved too. If you see a classmate getting involved on campus in a positive way, snap a pic, upload it to your Twitter or Instagram account and use the hashtag.

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