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Social Media: Student responsibility - PI061611

Coventry University

A student at Coventry University complained to us after the University rejected her appeal against a finding that postings on her Facebook account breached its code of conduct.

The student complained that the University’s findings were not reasonable as the postings had been written by someone else who had access to the account. The University took the view that as the account was in the student’s name and, under Facebook’s terms and conditions it is not possible for two people to share an account, she was responsible for the content. The University issued a final written warning to the student and required her to write a letter of apology.

The University’s procedures allowed for an appeal on three grounds – that information had not been taken into account in the original decision, that proceedings had been unfair, or where a student had been expelled. We were satisfied that the student’s appeal did not fall under any of those grounds.

We were satisfied that it was reasonable for the University to conclude that the student was accountable for the content of the Facebook post, even if she were not the author of the post. We concluded that it was reasonable for the University to state she had a responsibility to ensure that all content associated with the account was in line with the University’s regulations and code of conduct.

We decided the complaint was Not Justified.