Posts Tagged ‘Risk Management’

Facebook and social networks: Friend or unfriend?

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Social media has become an essential part of students’ daily lives. Search engines and websites have changed the way they research, YouTube changes the way they learn, sites like Facebook change the way they talk to each other.

Around campus, students, faculty, and professors are using social networks more than ever. From Twitter to Facebook to LinkedIn, social networking has made it easier to communicate with people throughout the world. It is easier to keep in touch with friends from the past and with family who lives across the country.

“As long as college students are networking, that is the main point,” says Pi Beta Phi member Haleigh Turner ’12, a Career Assistant for the Monmouth College Office of Career Development. “If more students feel comfortable using sites like Facebook that’s fine, but I am partial to face to face networking.”

However, there are some downsides associated with the extremely accessible social networking sites, says Dr. Rey Junco a professor at Lock Haven University and a social media researcher.  He discusses how using social media as a tool in the classroom will help students become more engaged in face to face learning in his blog, Social Media in Higher Education.

“Students who reported multitasking by doing another activity on the computer or another activity not on the computer, were more likely to report academic impairment,” says Junco in his blog. He suggests social networking websites and instant messaging are distracting to students who should be focusing on school work.

“Facebook is not only a distraction to my homework, but to anything I have to do,” says Erin Murphy ’12. “I am never very productive when I am on it.”

Loosing access to these technologically-enabled networks can be a distraction, too.  When the computer network fails at Monmouth College, a student’s main concern might be about reconnecting to the social network instead of how the disruption will affect the completion of coursework.

Students suffering from “Facebook Fever” (the need to check Facebook every time one is on the computer) find that working on homework is extremely difficult.   According to a research study from The Ohio State University, “Facebook users in the study had GPAs between 3.0 and 3.5, while non-users had GPAs between 3.5 and 4.0.”

Beyond personal discipline when using social networking sites, there are also certain threats created by malicious users of social networking sites.  Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity headquarters recently issued warnings about online scams targeted toward women in sororities using social networking sites.  These scams have included people posing as alumnae of the organization and asking for extremely personal information. Such information could be used to steal the woman’s identity, damage her financial stability, and harm her reputation.

“Social networking sites can be really useful when people use them properly,” says Sam Jagust, member of Alpha Xi Delta. “People don’t really use it properly; it’s pretty much a creeper site right now.”

Social Networking sites can be both useful and hurtful to students in portraying a professional image. Future employees can turn to sites such as Facebook to investigate potential employees.

Employers are “becoming increasingly savvy about using social networking sites in their hiring due diligence,” says Wei Du in an article on MSNBC.com. Students’ comments and pictures posted to social networking sites can be easily discovered.

In this same article, Du reports that Van Allen, who runs a company recruiting potential employees and clinics, denied a woman a job because she had posted explicit pictures on Facebook.  Employers are searching social media websites such as Facebook as part of their responsibility to find out information on a potential employee.

However, used well, websites such as LinkedIn can be extremely useful in employment searches.  They can act as an online resume as well as enhance networks and establish connections within one’s field.

“You ought to be getting a LinkedIn profile if you don’t have one,” says Dr. Lee McGaan, Chair of the Monmouth College Department of Communication Studies. “It is the kind of profile you want to show up when your name is googled. You can get easy and convenient recommendations from professors and other people you have shared work experience with.”

While social media and networking make communication very easy, privacy is still a major concern. When using sites like Facebook or MySpace, users may use the built-in privacy settings to control—to some extent—who can view personal information posted on the sites. Helpful guides to privacy settings can be found on Mint.com and 7 Tips to Protect Your Social Media Privacy.

“If you decide to use Facebook for professional networking, take a close look at your profile and decide what you want business contacts or prospective employers to see—and what you don’t,” says Alison Doyle, a job search expert and author, in her article “Facebook and Professional Networking.” It is recommended that users also monitor comments and photos that are posted on personal pages by their friends.

“Professional sites are good,” says McGaan adds. “Take the time to Google yourself and see what is there. It is getting easier and cheaper for potential employers, banks, insurance companies, and even marketers to access information about you. Be careful what you are posting because there is potential for leakage, even with privacy settings.” μ

Michelle Bruce ‘12

Also of interest

Student Commentary: Let’s help the uninitiated understand poor behavior isn’t our ritual

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

The Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity chapter at Yale University caused an uproar during activities associated with one of their pledging rituals.  According to a report in The Chronicle of Higher Education, upperclassmen led new members in chants that were offensive and demeaning towards women.  In the aftermath, the chapter president sent out a formal apology to the university, women’s rights groups on campus, and anyone else that the stunt may have offended.

While this behavior is a travesty for everyone involved and a terrible incident that makes the entire Greek system look bad, the way some subscribers to The Chronicle’s website have responded to the report has also been unkind and often based in misinformation. Individuals who have commented on the report have called everyone that is involved in a fraternity a “group of thugs” and “a bunch of middle class white boys crying about needing a place to commune.”

To stereotype an entire system like this is unwarranted and unnecessary, and feels like hate mongering toward the Greek system.  The problem with blog responses like the one in The Chronicle is that there is no filter to what people can say, and no one can see who is commenting, as often real names are obscured behind electronic aliases.    Let’s not forget that this comes from readers of The Chronicle of HIGHER EDUCATION (emphasis mine), and so one would expect the comments to be informed by a certain amount of understanding about the reality of Greek Life—the good and the bad—by virtue of the readers’ daily involvement on college campuses around the country.

Behavior as displayed by the Delta Kappa Epsilon chapter at Yale qualifies as hazing, which is prohibited at every reputable college and university.  There are strong laws against hazing in any way, shape, and form.  Every national fraternity prohibits hazing.  However, incidents like the one at Yale to show that hazing is still ongoing, and this is admittedly a bitter pill to swallow.

So now the question is, rather than posting generalized attacks against Greeks on the internet, how should we respond to a fraternity that is hazing?

First and foremost, the health and well-being of hazed victims should be taken care of.  These young men were embarrassed in front of the entire Yale student body.  Providing access to counselors and involving the campus administrators in the healing of the chapter is one of the first steps.

Next, the local organization guilty of instigating the hazing should be dealt with. There have been cases of hazing when a chapter has been forced to leave a campus, and officers and those taking part in hazing given jail sentences.  Unfortunately, hazing often comes from a habit of poor behavior stemming back many years.  So, while it is a sad thing to see a fraternity evaporate, one might say that the members took the first steps in dissolving their brotherhood when they began hazing in the first place.

To his credit, the President of Delta Kappa Epsilon at Yale, Jordan Forney, apologized to the news in an email saying that the actions were “inappropriate, disrespectful, and very hurtful to others.”  While this is a step in the right direction, it still cannot fix the damage done.  The chapter should hold seminars and presentations to teach members about the issues of hazing, and help make sure that other chapters do not commit the same errors in behavior.

Hopefully the university and Delta Kappa Epsilon will take the appropriate actions to solving the hazing problems, and make sure that this type of unacceptable act will never happen again on the Yale.

We should also not ignore the public comments about this incident on The Chronicle’s website; the accusations made about Greek Life are incorrect and misinformed.  However, we, as Greek members must make it our job to prove these type of comments wrong by ending hazing all together, and keep pushing to make sure that the positive steps of members are brought to light.  μ

Alex Woods ‘12

Also of interest:

Greek Life in the News

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Greeks Life appeared in the news several times this week.  Please be sure to check out these stories in the The Courier at Monmouth College:

T.A.K.E. control of risk management

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

On June 18, 2002, in Leawood, Kansas, 19-year-old college student Ali Kemp was brutally beaten and murdered at the public pool where she was working her summer job as a pool attendant. Although this tragedy deeply saddened the hearts of the many whose lives were touched by this young girl, her life and her story have grown to influence many women across our nation, including sorority women on numerous college campuses. People often fail to recognize that all individuals are equally vulnerable to harmful situations. Perhaps what they don’t realize is that there are ways to educate themselves on how to take appropriate actions when an emergency arises.

Throughout the years, countless numbers of fraternities and sororities have been established at colleges and universities across this nation. These groups for men and women all share several values and goals for their members, and strive to attain those by educating members to the best of their ability. Greek organizations have long been founded as academic organizations that push their members toward personal growth and development. Part of that growing process includes risk management, but what exactly does that term mean?

Although many risk management programs have a focus on drug and alcohol education, many might fail to realize that it stretches far beyond that. According to Doug Hubbard, aughor of The Failure of Risk Management, Risk management is the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks followed by coordinated, and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events. While that is quite a complex definition, it shows us that risk management actually covers a fairly broad range of situations and how to make decisions to handle them in the best way possible. Many college students go through new member education programs as a new pledge or initiate of a fraternity or sorority, but do all of these programs expand beyond learning how to prevent harmful events involving drugs and alcohol?

College campuses tend to be prone to risky situations, and with these come liability issues as well. Knowing how to take steps toward prevention can make a campus a more peaceful and safe environment for all who reside there.

Ali was a woman who enjoyed giving back and providing help through volunteer work. Soon after beginning her first year at Kansas State University, she became a member of Pi Beta Phi Fraternity which allowed her to continue sharing her talents and help the community around her. Following the events of Ali’s death, her parents were moved to share her story with women across the country, and hopefully provide valuable knowledge that could protect them from experiencing the same horror that took their daughter’s precious life. Many of these women include those just like Ali in sororities at colleges and universities all over the nation. Roger and Kathy Kemp were so passionate about this that they took action and created The Ali Kemp Education Foundation (T.A.K.E.) in 2004. The Foundation includes the T.A.K.E. Defense program that trains women in self defense techniques that can save their life should it be threatened like Ali’s. The program has been brought to various sororities since its founding and has reached out to over 20,000 females in hopes of educating them on how to protect themselves if a risk arises.

Being aware of different types of risk management programs can extend the horizons for Greeks everywhere. It is extremely important that fraternities and sororities move beyond the routines they have practiced throughout the years, and shed light on topics that are equally as important as drug and alcohol awareness. Because of the Kemp family, Ali’s legacy has reached so many women and given them the tools to stand up for themselves. For college women in particular, T.A.K.E. has provided them a sense of control over their own lives, as well as a sense of comfort for them and their family while they are growing and developing on their own at college. To learn more about T.A.K.E., Ali’s story, or how to get involved, please visit www.takedefense.org. μ

Ryan Brandt ‘10