WUFA's Guide to Civil Discourse on Social Media
September 19, 2023
The WUFA Communications Committee developed “A Guide to Civil Discourse on Social Media” which was reviewed and adopted by the WUFA Faculty Council on September 18, 2023. The ‘Guide’ document is pasted below:
WUFA strongly supports the rights of its members to academic freedom, free speech, and public debate. The use of social media sites to discuss and advocate for important issues facing our members and society in general is crucial in advancing these goals. Indeed, publicly commenting on issues and events that are of concern is typically expected of those who serve as public intellectuals.
However, while social media platforms can serve as a valuable forum for public discourse, there are a number of legal consequences stemming from their improper use that members need to be aware of. This could also result in disciplinary actions that can result from either the University, or any professional accreditation bodies that regulate our members. WUFA has developed these guidelines for members to consult when using social media platforms in order to help avoid any disciplinary issues before they arise. This is not legal advice and legal advice should be sought when the individual is concerned regarding the impact of their statement(s) or any liability that may arise therefrom.
It is important to note that once you have posted or submitted information in publicly viewable online fora, it is virtually impossible to restrict or retract it. Never assume that the site that you are posting on is private or that what has been posted will not be disclosed to the University community, the University Administration, or the public at large.
Many individual Facebook pages or personal social media sites contain information that identifies you as being employed by a particular organization or as a member of WUFA. When you are expressing your opinions, you should make it clear that these opinions are yours alone and are not intended to be understood as anything else. WUFA recommends that you should consider a “disclaimer” on your personal page or site along with following lines:
PLEASE NOTE: The opinions expressed on this site / page are entirely my own. They should not be seen as reflecting the views of the University of Windsor or of the Windsor University Faculty Association or as having been authorized or approved by anyone other than me.