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Online platforms code of conduct

Online platforms code of conduct

It is important to remember that any web platform for student groups is an official student group space, so behaviour that is unacceptable at an event, is equally as unacceptable on any of your web platforms. All users interacting with the Students’ Union, or a representative of the Students’ Union (including student leaders), should have an expectation of feeling safe. Here are some guidance on unacceptable behaviour and tips for preventing it.

Unacceptable behaviour 


The Students’ Union has a zero tolerance approach to conduct that could legitimately be perceived by its recipients as:   

  • Cyber Bullying/Stalking 

  • Trolling / Online Impersonation 

  • Excluding 

  • Sexual harassment   

  • Discriminatory comments and behaviour   

  • Abuse and unwanted attention   

  • Threatening or violent behaviour or language   

  Full information on UEA and UEASU’s definition of online harassment via Never Ok campaigns is detailed here. You can report incidences of unacceptable conduct through the Report and Support portal, which can be found here

 

Managing your online platforms


Here are some points we recommend groups follow to promote positive interactions on their web platforms and how to handle unacceptable conduct.  
 

For mini sites provided by the Students’ Union, external websites and email addresses created by student groups:

  • Use these platforms as a professional space to inform members and prospective members about your student group and its activities and answer general enquiries.    

  • Only give access to the committee members who need admin access to these platforms.  

  • Remove admin access to those who no longer need it. Ensure no data can be accessible to previous admins. Also ensure passwords are updated. 

 For more interactive web platforms such as social media pages/groups and/or group chats:

These could include: 

- Facebook 
Twitter
Instagram
Snapchat
LinkedIn
Discord
YouTube
TikTok
Twitch
Whatsapp 

  • Assign platform leads and ensure these are not the only methods of communicating with your members as some may not utilise some platforms or are able to access them. Your primary source of communication to members should always start with email from the uea.su website. 

  • Only give admin access to those who are assigned it. Whilst refreshing passwords at least annually.  

  • Include web platform handover in handover between old and new committees each year.   

  • Keep your groups and chats closed to paid members only (remember to add new members regularly).  For any open public pages please utilise guidance above. 

  • Provide a statement to members upon joining that your web platforms are for discussion and communication around student group activities only and behaviour associated with the unacceptable conduct in this document is not tolerated.    

Please note that Sports clubs are bound by UEA Sports Club Social Media Charter. 
  

What should you do if an incident of unacceptable conduct does occur on any of your web platforms?
 

  • Put a message out on the web platform where the incident has occurred, to state that the behaviour shown is not tolerated in your student group and kindly ask your members to keep the platform a safe space for students. Ensuring that all committee members are briefed on this.  

  • In addition to this, or if the behaviour continues, consider direct messaging the person (or people) to let them know that their comments are not acceptable on the student group web platform, referring back to the statement made at the beginning of there year where possible.   

  • If the situation has become unmanageable you can consider instigating a cooling off period and temporarily freeze the group for a period of time. Admins can then consider using this period to release any further statements on the platform, as necessary.   

  • Consider closing the group permanently.

  • Report the incident to your Students’ Union staff support and provide screenshots/evidence of the behaviour. The Students’ Union will then be able to offer support with dealing any necessary further action or investigation as per relevant Students’ Union procedure (if necessary).  

  • If the behaviour was posted online, remove the comments to revert your web platform back to a safe space for students (make sure you have collected any evidence you need for later reference before removing).   

  • After a cooling off period, re-open/ unfreeze the web platform for members to have access to posting again and remind all members that everyone is to move on from the previous conversations and remain respectful on your group’s web platforms and at your events.  

  • Of course you also hold the right to close the group completely.

  • Keep your staff support at the Students’ Union up to date with any further escalations or issues so they can provide you with the correct support.  

  • Should you feel that the behaviour is in breach of Never OK Guidance please report this activity via Report and Support, a member of the SU opportunities team or UEA Sport. 

 

Online Cloud Storage 

Student groups setting up cloud storage platforms such as but not exclusive to: 

  • Microsoft Onedrive 

  • Google Drives 

  • Drop Box 

  • Student groups must be sure to follow robust general data protection regulations. They should always be security protected and only shared with committee members. Their primary use should be for handover such as committee role descriptions, logos and marketing assets and functional files for student group operation. 
     
  • They should not hold any personal data of members any longer than they should unless it is for the purpose of trip registrations or for a particular use agreed and consented to by that member e.g., a mailing list showing interest in the society. Once the need for this data ceases this must be deleted immediately. 
     
  • By personal data we mean but not exhaustive of any contact details, or personal identifiers, such as nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, race, ethnic origin, religious beliefs or health  
     
  • Where you may hold a list of names but no further identifiable/sensitive data, this can be stored in the drive, this may include registers to sessions or ticket holders for future events. 
     
  • An audit of this data must be completed very year to ensure this data is deleted post its use expiring. 
     
  • No data should ever be shared with any external party. 
     
  • If these drives are not set up by the Union on your behalf, you must ensure you follow all online software guidelines and ensure the data is kept in line with GDPR training.  

Specific consideration for WhatsApp groups
 

We are that many student groups will use a WhatsApp group to communicate with your members. We advise the following: 

  • Ensure that you abide by the general principles above for managing a web platform as above 

  • That these groups should be used for general communications of the student group rather than regular whole dialogue of all members 

  • Remember that not all members will be able to or engage with a WhatsApp group and shouldn’t be the primary basis of communication. 


Managing external speakers at online events. What should you do if your external speaker says or does something inappropriate? 

 
  • Make sure you have submitted details of your external speaker at least 4 weeks before your event is due to take place. You can find out more information of how to do this here.
     
  • Once your external speaker is approved, please make sure you send them the below guidance from the external speaker policy. 

a.     They must not incite hatred, violence or call for the breaking of the law

b.     They are not permitted to encourage, glorify or promote any acts of terrorism including individuals, groups ororganisations that support such acts

c.     They must not spread hatred and intolerance in the community and thus aid in disrupting social and communityharmony

d.     Within a framework of positive debate and challenge seek to avoid insulting other faiths or groups

e.     They are not permitted to raise or gather funds for any external organisation or cause without express permission of the trustees


For the policy in full please click here 

 
  • Make sure you see a copy of the external speaker’s  presentation before your event so you are aware of what they will be talking about beforehand.
 
What to do if your external speaker starts talking about something inappropriate? 
 
To give a current example, let’s say a guest speaker is invited to talk about the covid vaccine and they actually start talking about how 5G will control them when they have it - you need to take control and decide whether that is appropriate or not. If you feel that what the speaker has said is inappropriate, you should:
 
  • Mute the external speaker and/or turn off their video.
     
  • Send a message to the external speaker to state that the behaviour shown is not appropriate, referring back to the external speaker policy that you sent them. 
     
  • If the situation has become unmanageable you can consider instigating a cooling off period and temporarily freeze the group for a period of time. Admins can then consider using this period to release any further statements on the platform, as necessary.   
     
  • Report the incident to your Students’ Union staff support and provide screenshots/evidence of the behaviour. The Students’ Union will then be able to offer support with dealing any necessary further action or investigation as per relevant Students’ Union procedure (if necessary).  
     
  • If the behaviour was posted online, remove the comments to revert your web platform back to a safe space for students (make sure you have collected any evidence you need for later reference before removing).  
     
  • After a cooling off period, re-open/ unfreeze the web platform for members to have access to posting again and remind all members that everyone is to move on from the previous conversations and remain respectful on your group’s web platforms and at your events. 
     
  • Keep your staff support at the Students’ Union up to date with any further escalations or issues so they can provide you with the correct support.