Mar 022010
 March 2, 2010  Posted by  Online, Workplace

Jack Stripling reports:

Whether it’s avoiding bars frequented by students or politely declining the occasional social invitation, professors often make an extra effort to establish boundaries with their students. But social networking sites, which are often more public than they may appear, are lifting the veil on the private lives of professors in ways they may not have expected.

Gloria Gadsden said she thought she was talking only to close friends and family as she vented on Facebook about her students, but the East Stroudsburg University sociology professor has since learned the hard way that her frustrated musings were viewable by some of the very students she had consciously declined to “friend” in the past. A small change to the settings for Gadsden’s online profile allowed the “friends” of Gadsden’s own “friends” to read her updates, and in so doing created a controversy that the professor now feels could damage her career and her chances at tenure.

Gadsden was placed on administrative leave last week after a student reported two Facebook postings that some have interpreted as threats. On Jan. 21, Gadsden wrote “Does anyone know where to find a very discreet hitman? Yes, it’s been that kind of day …” Another post in the same vein came a month later, as Gadsden opined: “had a good day today, DIDN’T want to kill even one student :-). Now Friday was a different story.”

Read more on USA Today.

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