|Harvard University is the best|
from the odyssey online.com
Just this week Harvard University, the bastion of free speech and expression rescinded the admission of ten applicants to their incoming class of 2021 because of offensive and inappropriate Facebook posts. Apparently "Offensive" means joking about sexual assault, child abuse, and the holocaust. These types of messages and graphics are no longer acceptable even though they are permitted under the constitution. This has shocked more than a few people and has been called by many the new morality.
Is this right? Is this the new normal? And what do people facing criminal charges have to be concerned about? What about people with new and old DWI or drug offenses?
Is free speech truly gone?
Should people be concerned that their party/social image may have untoward collateral effects?
We Tell All Our Clients to take Down Social Media
Social media is great and it sucks. Putting yourself out there, opinions, warts, and all can be dangerous in the times we are living in. Many people in positions of power and authority look for a reason NOT to hire you, or NOT to cut you a break, or NOT to offer you a plea deal, or to VIOLATE your probation, or to RESCIND an admission.
These are the prosecutors, college administrators, and judges. They will often take the moral high ground and see any of your posts in the worst possible light and perspective. Is this fair or right? No, but their opinion matters and their power to decide your future or at least your future options is real.
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Reddit, and All Other Social Media Reveals You
Whether that is the real you or a facade makes no difference. Appearances matter, whether at job interviews or first dates. That is why we tell our clients to take down and remove themselves from posting and posts on all social media. All of what you post online becomes public knowledge and can be used against you.
Things you may think innocuous: pictures of you socializing at bars, parties, fraternities, and picnics may be amplified and categorize you as a "partier." One who partakes in parties at the risk or cost of other things. Drugs and alcohol are the new demons or at least they are the catalyzers of bad behavior and poor decisions. Breaks and deals are given to those who are seen as basically good, whatever that means? Do you want to be seen and heard as basically bad?
People on DWI Probation or a New York DWI Conditional Discharge are Social Media Targets
New York criminal charges usually mean a period of conditions and obligations that need to be met. If you are placed on any form of probation due to use of drugs and/or alcohol then social media posts demonstrating either your continued use or abuse of such things doesn't portray you in the best light. Recently we have seen Facebook holiday pictures of drinking used in court to prove a violation of alcohol use. Watching TV shows we see basic surfing and vetting of characters. What would a search of you reveal? Would it be flattering?
JA (Judicial Administration) Cases as a Result of Underlying Criminal Charges Can Also Spark Social Media Scrutiny
You sign a code of conduct when you attend ANY college or university. Your behavior both on and off campus, both in public and in private is supposed to be guided by this code. If you are charged with any drug, marijuana, or alcohol related offense all of your actions both before and after the arrest or charges will be questioned. DWI or DWAI drugs charges will likely trigger a code of conduct violation in addition to the criminal court proceedings.
Pictures or posts of any illicit, illegal, or inappropriate behavior can get you noticed. But do you want to be noticed by college or university officials that may have a say in your judicial administration matter? Will telling them this was a one time event be believable if they see you doing bong hits and playing drinking games?
The Bottom Line on Posting to Social Media
The Bottom Line is this: If you are working and goaling for a future better than your present do NOT post anything online that you would be embarrassed to explain in a job interview.