Social Media's Role in Campus Safety: What, Why, and What Now?

Publication Date: 2017
Abstract: In this presentation, Dr. Gary J. Margolis founder and CEO of Social Sentinel, Inc., co-founder and director of Margolis Healy, and former University of Vermont police chief – discusses alerts to threats shared socially and bringing the digital conversation into your campus safety operations. In October 2016, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) raised concerns with the largest social media services over law enforcement's use of their data to monitor users' social media posts. The ACLU’s findings led several companies that allowed such monitoring to lose access to their Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds, effectively putting many out of business. Campus safety teams that recognized the importance of social media in campus safety and security were left in a bind, wondering how to proceed. In this discussion, Gary will provide insight into what happened and discuss how campus officials can receive threat alert information. Learning objectives for this presentation include understanding the difference between monitoring social media and receiving alerts to threats shared publicly; identifying what you can do to balance public safety with the rights of individuals to speak, gather, and protest; and flagging the employee training and procedural issues your operating procedures must address when incorporating alerts to threats into your public safety program.