The Ateneo de Davao, being a Catholic, Jesuit, and Filipino University in Mindanao, is committed to contributing to the work of reconciliation with God, Creation, and with fellow people by establishing a humane humanity that thrives on the core values of respect, love, faith, hope, freedom, and justice. As an academic institution and truth-seeking community, it shall endeavor to always search for the truth both in the theoretical and practical realms, even in the various modes of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in general, and social media in particular.
The advent of social media or the “new media” has revolutionized the way people obtain information, communicate, and interact with one another. While technology might appear as neutral, heeding the concept of affordances (Gibson, 1979), as the range of possible actions made available by technology, allows us to approach the usage of social media as the “mutuality of actor intentions and technology capabilities that provide the potential for a particular action” (Majchrzak et al., 2013). Social media algorithms highlight this mutuality: what a user posts and clicks determine the kind of content that is fed back to the user. Everything that one does on social media is archived and treated as data that may be accessed and used by others for shaping political campaigns, commercial marketing, and advertising, and even in criminal ads. Hence, we underscore an informed and critical awareness in using social media.
Social media can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, social media successfully empowers and connects people by bridging relationships, democratizing access to essential data, highlighting popular discourses, and enabling decision-making processes. On the other hand, it also provides a platform for divisive and destructive ads that engender and amplify conflicts, brokenness, misunderstanding, moral decay, and criminality.
The students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and parents who are part of the Ateneo de Davao University community are particularly at risk of the ill effects of social media if its irresponsible use should remain unchecked. In this digital age where ICTs are integral to human interaction, caution must be observed. Whether social media use leads to positive or negative outcomes, it is directly related to how they are used (or abused or misused), by whom, and especially for whom who may be passing judgment. Therefore, the key to enjoying the benefits while avoiding the problems is to use these powerful tools sensibly, constructively, and responsibly.
To achieve these aspirations, the University adopts this Social Media Use Policy to guide the University community in providing safe spaces for self-expression, fostering respect for persons and institutions, advancing truth-based individual formation and social transformation, and promoting healthy Interpersonal relationships through a culture of dialogue.
Section 1. Core Principles and Values. The University upholds the core principles and values that promote a safe space for self-expression and an institutional mechanism for addressing grievances and concerns. The Social Media Use Policy is founded on the following principles and values:
1. As Catholic. AdDU recognizes that Jesus is the source of truth as we are engaged in finding the truth that flows from our faith that does justice. Believing in the universal apostolic truth, we are also invited to recognize and honor the truth of others. In our Catholicity, a fair hearing to hear the truth of everyone is our way of proceeding in the hope of validating the multiple facets of truth coming from our differentiated human experiences.
2. As Jesuit. Inspired by the teachings of St. Ignatius, the AdDU Community puts a premium on eloquentia et sapientia (wisdom and eloquence) founded on the values of discernment, magis, cura personalis, and service to others; encouraging everyone to be the embodiment of strength in faith (fortes in fide) and love of God (ad majorem Dei gloriam). AdDU also leads its community by reflecting on the lived experience of St. Ignatius towards intimacy with the person of Jesus Christ and being moved by the Spirit (lux in Domino), with commitment to truth (veritas liberavit vos), and insight into and love for humanity (cura personalis) and care for the common good including generosity.
3. As Filipino. Contributing to the promotion of social justice, the AdDU community is expected to engage in conversations even through social media platforms to promote sensitivity to gender and cultures, inter-religious dialogue, equality and equity of all, and the protection of the environment, especially in and for Mindanao;
4. Responsibility. Members of the University Community shall be personally responsible for how they interact through ICTs.
5. Human Rights. Freedom of expression in all its forms is guaranteed at all times and should not be used to infringe other freedoms as all civil liberties are indivisible, interconnected, and interdependent. This right is guaranteed under the 1987 Constitution and has been declared to be a fundamental principle of democracy. It may only be restrained under certain conditions such as when it is injurious to the rights of others and the rights of the community or the society (Chavez vs Gonzales, G.R. No. 168338, February 15, 2008). This policy is therefore not to be construed as censorship to free speech but instead necessitates self-regulation, personal responsibility, and accountability in light of law and jurisprudence.
6. Respect. Online etiquette should be underscored by the imperatives of respect for oneself, for others, and for the institution. The commitment to the search for truth in academic freedom necessitates interpersonal respect for this search. Hence, disrespect would mean any personal disrespect that leads to the dispossession of “certain rights within a given society…individual claims that a person can legitimately expect society to fulfill since as a full-fledged member of a community, he has an equal right to participate in its institutional order.” (Honneth 1992, p. 190-191)
7. Dialogue. Any grievance or concern arising from administration, formation, instruction, research, and engagement are best resolved through dialogue where parties come together in peace to work out ways of addressing the issue, concern, or problem to yield positive outcomes.
8. Teachers as Formators. The ultimate aim of Jesuit education is the full growth of the person which leads to action – action, especially, that is suffused with the spirit and presence of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Man-for-Others. This goal of action, based on sound understanding and enlivened by contemplation, urges students, faculty, administrators, and other members of the community to self-discipline and initiative, to integrity and accuracy. At the same time, it judges slip-shod or superficial ways of thinking unworthy of the individual and, more important, dangerous to the world he or she is called to serve. Hence, teachers are not just instructors but formators attending to the overall well-being of students. They are thus required to model the behavior that they wish to shape.
9. Students as Co-creators of a Safe Space. Students are important members of the University Community. They are the representation of a Jesuit education- a unity of the heart, mind, and soul, and a dedication to human excellence. Hence, they are expected to commit to the same values and principles enshrined in this policy.
10. Parents and Guardians as Partners. As members of the University community, parents and guardians are partners in the formation of students. They are expected to commit to the same values and principles enshrined in this policy.
11. Social Media as Networked Publics. All forms of engagement in social media are treated as unique and distinct from the common understanding of what “public” is. Its public nature is founded on the notion of “networked publics” (boyd, 2010) which is characterized by:
- a. Persistence – online expressions are automatically recorded and archived;
- b. Replicability – content made out of bits can be duplicated
- c. Scalability – the potential visibility of content in networked public is great; and
- d. Searchability – content in networked publics can be accessed through search.
12. THINK Formula. There is no limit to what type of content you can post on social media. You can post text, links to websites, photos and illustrations, including GIFs, infographics (maps, diagrams, charts, or any other graphic visualization of information), posters, and video. But, following the Philippine Province Social Media Protocol and the legacy of St. Ignatius’ “discreta caritas,” or discerned love, the AdDU community shall be guided by five (5) considerations in communicating through the social media, summarized in the acronym THINK:
T = TRUE. The Jesuit is on the side of truth. All his messages are TRUE to the best of his knowledge.
H = HELPFUL. The Jesuit’s task is to build up other people and the Body of Christ. Every message can build or harm.
I = INSPIRING. Human communication is not merely cerebral. All human messages have an affective component to them. A Jesuit is aware of the affective component of his messages and its effects on the receiver.
N = NECESSARY. Some messages are better left unsaid or unsent. The Jesuit is aware that the social media makes communication so convenient that a knee-jerk reaction is fostered often giving rise to communication that is neither helpful nor harmful but merely fills cyberspace.
K = KIND. Since charity is the norm of all Christian behavior (Jn. 13: 36/ Mt. 11:29), the Jesuit’s messages are always kind or at least do not have the potential to harm.
Section 2. Scope & Coverage.
1. Who are covered. This policy is applicable to ail Ateneo de Davao University Community members, including the students, teachers, administrators, staff, parents, and alumni. The following are responsible for disseminating this policy:
a. Office of Student Affairs and Prefects of Discipline to students;
b. Human Resource Management and Development Office to teachers, administrators, and staff;
c. Ateneo de Davao Parents-Teachers Conference Inc., Ateneo de Davao Grade School Community Association, and the Junior High School and Senior High School counterparts;
d. The Ignatian Spirituality and Formation Office; and
e. Alumni Affairs Office to alumni
2. What platforms are covered. Use of ICTs includes emails, learning management systems, facsimile transmittals, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers among others. Social media refers to “internet-based applications…that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content” (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). It may mean to include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, LinkedIn, Youtube, personal blogs or webpages, and other messaging platforms like Messenger, Viber, Line, Whatsapp, Telegram, Signal, and other similar technologies. Furthermore, social media should not be primarily seen as the platforms upon which people post but rather as the contents that are posted on these platforms (Miller et al., 2016).
Section 3. Prohibited Acts. Following on the principles previously stated, critical, truthful and honest social media engagements are encouraged. However, the use of information and communication technologies and the social media which is violative of existing and subsequent laws shall be prohibited nor shall these digital platforms be used for any unlawful purposes, to wit:
1. The Anti-Photo and Voyeurism Act of 2009 or Republic Act 9995;
2. The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or Republic Act 10175;
3. The Data Privacy Act or Republic Act 10173;
4. The Anti-Bullying Act of 2013 or Republic Act 10627; and
5. The relevant Student Handbooks of each unit, the Employees Manual, and other existing and subsequent University policies.
Section 4. Support Programs. It is the responsibility of every member of the University Community to carefully map out their social media plan, choose their social media channels, consider account management, access, and security, and articulate interaction and moderation protocols. For this purpose, this policy calls forth for the strengthening of various formation programs, to wit:
1. Teacher, staff, and administrator formation through the Induction Program;
2. Student orientation programs;
3. Student formation classes;
4. AdDU Sui Generis Leadership Program;
5. Guidance Center Programs;
6. Recollection and Retreats;
7. Formation Webinars/Fora. Through the leadership of the Institutional Communications and Promotions Office (iCOMMP) in partnership with the University Information and Technology Office (UITO), the different units and offices of Ateneo de Davao University shall endeavor to implement various forms of webinars, conversations and/or fora on a regular basis, at least once a year, on any or all of the following:
a. AdDU Social Media Use Policy;
b. Media Information Literacy;
c. Online Etiquette;
d. Cybercrimes; and
e. Other relevant topics.
Section 5. Feedback Mechanism. Members of the community are encouraged to engage with each other via all acceptable channels of communication. Complaints must be directed to the proper offices and addressed accordingly. This will encourage the community to be more dialogical rather than adversarial.
As a matter of protocol, the AdDU community is encouraged to raise concerns with the appropriate personnel or office (i.e. teacher, department chair, staff, administrator, etc.) However, should there be legitimate issues and concerns where the person or office concerned is not accessible, the following express channels of communication may be used:
1. Email – email@example.com
2. Facebook – (to be created)
3. Twitter – (to be created)
Towards this end, a social media officer (SMO) within the Institutional Communications and Promotions Office (iCOMMP) shall be designated to provide a prompt and immediate response to the issues and concerns raised through the official channels. The same officer shall also be responsible for linking the user to the appropriate office and/or person where or upon whom a concern is raised.
Reporting and Monitoring. The Ateneo de Davao University shall not be regularly monitoring the social media accounts of the members of its community. It shall only act upon prohibited posts when reported to and/or learned by the authorized personnel (OSA or Prefects of Discipline for Students, Faculty Club for Teachers, AGSCA/ADPTCI/SHS for Parents, AAO for Alumni) of the university.
Any person may initiate a complaint, either in writing or via electronic mail. In the spirit of fair play and due process, anonymous complaints or reports shall not be acted upon unless it is allowed by existing University Policies such as the “University Policy on Whistleblowing- Confidential Disclosure). Thereafter, an investigation shall be conducted by the respective units through the assigned offices or bodies. After deliberation, a written recommendation shall be made and forwarded to their respective approving authority.
It is hereby emphasized that the University shall defer to the terms and conditions of each social media platform for violations committed by its users.
Addressing Issues and Concerns. Channels of communication where grievances may be raised shall be made available for everyone to access. Everyone shall be encouraged to optimize these platforms to allow communication to flow and dialogue to take place through various platforms that can address issues and concerns and resolve grievances rather than resorting to adversarial, hostile, and disrespectful means.
Section 6. Consequences for Violations
1. Jurisdiction. Violations of any provision in Section 3 are dealt with according to the procedure laid out and penalties imposed by the respective student handbooks, the employee’s manual, and the by-laws of the parent and alumni associations, as the case may be.
a. Office of Student Affairs for violations committed by students in the higher education unit;
b. Prefects of Discipline for violations committed by students in the basic education unit;
c. Human Resource Management and Development Office for employees;
d. Ateneo Grade School Community Association for parents in the Grade School Unit;
e. Ateneo De Davao Parent-Teacher Conference, Inc. for parents in the Junior High School Unit;
f. SHS Parent Association or its counterpart for parents in the Senior High School Unit; and
g. Alumni Affairs Office for AdDU alumni.
2. Appeals. Decisions made by the authorized office or association in the preceding paragraph may be appealed to the Office of the University President within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the decision. The decision of the University President shall be final and executory.
3. Penalties. When applicable, the penalties imposed on each unit are based on their respective student handbooks, the employee handbook, and the by-laws of the parent and alumni associations.
As a general rule, violations of this provision shall be determined in accordance with existing University policies and/or by laws of the appropriate organizations/units. However, the following violations and their corresponding range of sanctions, depending on the gravity of the offense committed, may be used to determine the appropriate sanction to be imposed:
Section 7. Effectivity. The Social Media Use Policy takes effect upon the approval of the University President. Once approved, this policy must be published and disseminated to the University community. This policy may be amended only upon the approval of the University President.