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MUSC Medical Links Charleston Links Archives Catalyst Advertisers Seminars and Events Research Studies Public Relations Research Grants MUSC home page Community Happenings Campus News Applause


Student social media guidelines unveiled

by Cindy Abole
Public Relations
At college campuses across the country, online social networks have become a way for students to stay connected with people and boost friendships. Unfortunately, the information that students, staff and campus departments post can be seen by others.
Darlene Shaw, Ph.D., associate provost for Education and Student Life,  helped initiate these new guidelines to help colleges and students use social networking tools more effectively.
The guidelines were  prepared under the guidance of university leadership and a campuswide committee  to address issues and provide a quick reference to  students, according to Chris Pelic, M.D., associate dean of students, College of Medicine, and committee chairman.
The top priority was to make students aware of these types of tools—Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc. They also made available relevant guidelines and resources to help students.
Be transparent about your identity and relationship to MUSC.
  • Identify yourself as an MUSC student only when appropriate; provide a disclaimer that helps distinguish your views from those of MUSC; while there might be reasons to register using your MUSC e-mail address, consider changing to your personal e-mail address to avoid the misperception that your views represent the views of MUSC.
  • You can be sued for libel or slander.
  • Membership in some groups may reflect negatively on you. 
  • Be conscious of potentially inappropriate images being posted of you.
  • Be thoughtful of the content of your wall posts and status updates.
Adhere to professional standards of conduct, including compliance with all applicable MUSC and medical center policies.
  • Off-campus and off-duty, you still represent MUSC and your profession.
  • Patients, families, faculty, future employers, and the media routinely “troll” sites.
  • Maintain professional boundaries with patients and their families.
  • Do not post anything about a patient (de-identified or not).
  • Obtain written consent before posting copyrighted material.
  • Social networking should not interfere with your professional duties or academic obligations.
Personal privacy, safety
  • Read the site’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  • Restrict access to your personal information and remember to update your privacy settings periodically.
  • Consider maximum privacy settings at least initially and beware sites often change their policies without notifying you.
  • Scams and identity theft exist so do not post detailed personal information.
  • Report any threat of violence.
Computer security
Be aware of computer security risks. Social networking sites are frequently targeted by cyber criminals.
  • Do not use any university or medical center computer that handles sensitive data or supports critical functions to access social networking Web sites or personal e-mail accounts without permission.
  • Never use your MUSC password on personal e-mail accounts or social networking sites.
When in doubt, contact the University Compliance Office at
The MUSC Student Guidelines to Electronic Communications and Social Networking is located at

Friday, Aug. 27, 2010

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.