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Student Privacy Protections: Social Media Procedure – 61.18.02

College Policy Number/Title:

Howard Community College (HCC) recognizes the importance of appropriate rules to protect student privacy involving the use of social media, while at the same time permitting the appropriate use of social media for college-related activities.  To this end and in compliance with Maryland Code, Education, § 26-401, HCC does not require, request, suggest, or cause students, applicants, or prospective students to grant access to, allow observation of, or disclose information that allows access to or observation of the individuals’ personal social media account; compel individuals as a condition of acceptance or participation in curricular or extracurricular activities to add to the list of contacts associated with a personal social media account an HCC employee or party acting on behalf of HCC; or to change the privacy settings associated with individuals’ social media accounts.  HCC will not take any action to threaten discharge, discipline, or prohibit participation in curricular or extracurricular activities, or otherwise penalize students, applicants for admission, or prospective students as the result of an individual’s refusal to allow any of the above actions to take place.  These limitations do not prevent HCC from viewing, requesting, or requiring students, applicants, or prospective students to provide access to social media accounts that are opened at the request of or provided by HCC.  Further, these limitations do not prevent HCC from viewing publicly accessible social media content. These limitations do not prevent HCC from viewing social media content made available to HCC as the result of actions taken independently by students, applicants, or prospective students.  Finally, these limitations also do not apply to investigations involving suspected criminal activity, code of conduct, or Title IX violations involving students, applicants for admission, or prospective students.

Effective Date:  02/12/21

President's Office Use:  VPSS/EDPRM

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