Class Facebook Pages

September 13, 2017

The recent posting of a “disorientation guide” on two official Tufts class Facebook pages prompted complaints from some members of the Tufts community, including students, who were offended by its broad and disparaging characterizations of some campus organizations. This portion of the guide’s content runs counter to our values as an inclusive community. After university moderators removed the guide from the class pages, other students raised questions about free speech. I write to offer clarification of our posting policies, and to remind all members of the AS&E community of our values of inclusion and mutual respect.

The university’s goal for orientation is to welcome incoming students in a way that successfully familiarizes them with the university's official resources, supports and expectations. The "disorientation guide," a collection of articles and postings by anonymous writers, is not part of the university's official orientation program or sponsored by a recognized Tufts student group. The guide has nevertheless been mistaken in the past for an official Tufts communication. Although we respect students' rights to free speech, we have always reserved the right to remove unauthorized content from official university Facebook pages and groups, especially when leaving the content posted could be interpreted as an endorsement. We have responded to similar complaints in previous years, including 2015.

The university rarely restricts posts on university-sponsored social media. Content is typically only removed when students or other community members complain, it conflicts with Tufts community standards, it is incompatible with the intended mission of a page or group, or it violates student organization policies or copyright. In such cases, the university will take appropriate action. At times, the university also addresses complaints about students’ posts by following up with those involved. In cases where the authors are not known, we lose our ability to directly address concerns.

We recognize that students and student groups have many other platforms on which to express their views beyond Tufts-sponsored sites. We encourage students to approach all expressed perspectives with a critical and careful lens that incorporates other viewpoints and sources, as well as their own experiences.