On Nov. 23, Senate passed guidelines for ASSP officer elections restricting campaigning on social networking sites such as Facebook.com and MySpace.com. Monday night they passed the same restrictions for senate elections. This is an unfair infringement on free speech for both candidates and students at large. Moreover, the restrictions are nearly impossible to enforce.
As passed, the guidelines not only hold candidates responsible for their own violations of the no-Facebook.com policy, but they aim to restrict their supporter’s endorsements as well.
The language in the guidelines is unclear, stating that all other campaigning through social networking, other than on the Elections Task Force Facebook.com page, is prohibited.
It is unclear whether this applies only to candidates or includes students voicing their support for a candidate. Senate’s discussion over the last few weeks seems to imply that endorsements on student’s personal profiles are out of the question as well.
Free speech violations aside, how does Senate plan to effectively monitor Facebook.com and enforce these guidelines for the entire student body?
What can be done if non-campaigning students decide to post anything on their wall, their status, their friends’ wall, et cetera, either supporting or belittling a candidate?
These restrictions are also subject to easy manipulation. If a student did not want a candidate to be elected, he or she could intentionally violate the guidelines by posting in favor of a candidate they hope to see disqualified. Would the unfortunate candidate be punished? Or would the student, even though he or she never agreed to the restrictions of the guidelines in the first place?
The task force does not seem to realize the responsibility they have committed themselves to. Monitoring all of Facebook.com is an impossible task with an endless scope, which the guidelines fail to address entirely. Senate’s vote is confusing and does not point to a positive outcome.
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Title: Staff Editorial | Author: Unknown | Section: Opinions | Published Date: 2009-12-02 | Internal ID: 6728