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Social Media and Freedom of Speech – Where Do the Concepts of Civility and Character Fit?


Presenter: Jeanine Ward-Roof

Professional Title: Dean of Students

Institution: Florida State Students

Background Experience: Jeanine Ward-Roof is responsible for the following functional areas: Greek life, new student and family programs, student rights and responsibilities, Student Disability Resource Center, withdrawals, victim advocate program, and crisis. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member in educational leadership and policy at Florida State University. Currently, Jeanine serves as the regional director for NASPA Region III and is currently an associate editor of The Journal of College Orientation and Transition. Jeanine has served as co-editor and editor of Designing Successful Transitions.


Daniel-Armitage-150x150.jpgPresenter: Daniel Armitage

Professional Title: Assistant Vice President, Student Affairs

Institution: University of Memphis

Background Experience: Daniel “Danny” Armitage’s responsibilities include residence life, child care, the University Center, conference and event planning, scheduling, and dining services. He currently serves as the chair for professional programs with NASPA Region III. Danny was one of the co-founders of the Southern Placement Exchange, a partnership between SACSA, SEAHO and SWACUHO.



As social media venues increase, students and professionals struggle with defining civility and character and supporting freedom of speech in the electronic realm.  Individuals often share their thoughts in manners that foster exclusivity and dismantle a community while negatively impacting students’ progression and development in their college experience.  Presenters invite participants to join in a discussion about ways to use social media that engages students and staff while protecting freedom of speech and encouraging civility and the development of strong character.

Important Question(s) Explored: “What are the implications of social media use on the character development of students and staff in relationship to freedom of speech and how is the profession responding?

Extension of Session Experience: 

  1. Participants will explore the concept of civility in relation to the use of social media.
  2. Participants will examine some of the best practices for supporting freedom of speech, civility, and character development when using social media.
  3. Participants will discuss implications on staff training.

Participants can apply learning to courses, policies, and practice by considering varying perspectives on social media use and appropriateness in college communities.  In addition, these learnings and perspectives can serve as the origin for conversations about character, appropriateness and the use of social media.