7.09 Electronic Communication and Social Media
Harvard neither sanctions nor censors individual expression of opinion on its systems. The same standards of behavior, however, are expected in the use of electronic mail as in the use of telephones and written and oral communication. Therefore, electronic mail, like telephone messages, must be neither obscene nor harassing. Similarly, messages must not misrepresent the identity of the sender and should not be sent as chain letters or be broadcast indiscriminately to large numbers of recipients. This prohibition includes unauthorized mass electronic mailings. For example, e-mail on a given topic that is sent to large numbers of recipients should in general be directed only to those who have indicated a willingness to receive such e-mail.
Caution is recommended as well in using social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. The profession of medicine is founded on the highest standards of conduct. In admitting a student to HMS, we believe you have already demonstrated that your behavior in person – both on campus and off – and in your electronic presence reflects the maturity and civility that are the necessary underpinnings of the profession. After you are admitted, enrollment remains contingent on a continuation of this high standard of conduct. Items that represent unprofessional behavior that are posted by you on social networking sites reflect poorly on you and on the medical profession. Such items may become public and could subject you to unintended exposure and consequences. Please see Harvard University’s social media guidelines http://www.provost.harvard.edu/policies_guidelines/Social_Media_Guidelines_FINAL_Version_1_0_effective_080112.pdf . When students are in the hospital or other clinical settings, they must adhere to each clinical institution’s privacy and social media policies (e.g., see MGH social media policy http://www.massgeneral.org/notices/socialmediapolicy.aspx).
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