Student accountability with the rise of social media

The reputation of a university is not entirely dependent on the policies of the faculty and administration. Often, it is in the hands of the student body. The decisions students make often shape outsiders’ perception of an institution — for better or for worse.

Shortly after the lockdown on Wilfrid Laurier University’s campus, a student sent out a Snapchat where he threatened the safety of anyone who was in the Science Building. Whether his intentions were to generate laughter or not, the idiotic use of social media struck again. Apparently, lessons were not learned from the previous week.

This is far from the first time a Laurier student has used social media carelessly. Over the years there have been countless cases of uploaded photos, tweets and statuses that not only deteriorate the reputation of the person who chose to share, but also the reputation of the school that is being negatively represented.

Social media continues to circulate with drunk selfies, inappropriate comments and now, more prominently, cyber threats that can perpetrate an aftershock with news outlets, regional police and university officials. Students are not thinking twice on what they choose to upload and garnering a reputation through their postings on various mediums.

Western University, previously the University of Western Ontario, changed its branding allegedly to change its image.

Laurier tries to focus on becoming the best business school while breaking down the stigma of the “party school” down the street, but this continues to develop through social media and students’ portrayal of this very institution.

But whether through the validation of criminal culture, either with comedic or serious intention, or the confirmation of the “sex and drugs” lifestyle on and around campus, the portrayal of what it “means to be a Golden Hawk” is blurred among students’ portrayals; students are acting blind to the audience sitting before them.    

Students must take accountability for their decisions. They must understand that their actions reflect what happens at Laurier and they are responsible for how this institution is viewed from the outside.

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