Feeds

University moves to hush Facebook criticism

Keele teaching, administration slammed by students

The Power of One Infographic

Keele University has ordered its students to watch their mouths on Facebook, and asked them not to express dissatisfaction with the institution on social networking sites.

The administration was provoked by a Facebook group called "James Knowles is a Twat". Professor James Knowles is an English literature academic at the Staffordshire university.

Members of the group were warned that the group was unacceptable and would be dealt with "very severely" if it continued.

A more general warning against criticising the university on social networking sites was sent to all students in the wake of the rumpus. It said:

Derogatory and offensive comments about Keele staff will be taken very seriously by the university and could lead to disciplinary action against the student(s) concerned. Students may also face legal action from the members of staff concerned for defamation and harassment.

Please note that there are legitimate ways to express dissatisfaction with the student experience without resorting to such communications.

The full text of the email is here. Some students have reacted by creating protest groups on Facebook, including "Freedom of Thought at Keele", and "Freedom of Speech in Keele Psychology" (registration required).

One student told The Reg: "We can all understand people being warned personally, but a global email to all students telling us to be quiet is a bit rich."

A group entitled "Janet Finch - Something must be done", which has more than 500 members from Keele, has also seen debate over the administration's response. It was begun as a protest against a 31.7 per cent pay hike awarded to the university's vice chancellor. Figures show Keele is struggling to attract new undergraduates, leading staff and students there to question the huge payday.

Keele had no response after several phone calls. It has told students a new policy on using social networking will be published shortly.

Meanwhile, at Durham University the IT services department has taken action to reduce the amount of bandwidth swallowed by social networking. Our correspondent reports that action to deprioritise Facebook between 8.30am and 5.30pm "has lead to a rather remarkable drop off in the number of students in any of the university libraries". ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.