SIPA dean: OK, fine, you can tweet about WikiLeaks
Worried about whether your Facebook status update will ruin your chances at a government job? Well, SIPA’s dean has got your back. Despite a warning from the school’s Office of Career Services about responsible social networking, Dean John Coatsworth concedes that it’s his students’ prerogative to tweet what they will.
In an email sent out today to SIPA students, Dean Coatsworth clarified SIPA’s position on the Wiki-drama: “SIPA’s position is that students have a right to discuss and debate any information in the public arena that they deem relevant to their studies or to their roles as global citizens, and to do so without fear of adverse consequences.”
So go forth and tweet what is sure to be your immeasurable contribution to the world about classified government information. As long as it is relevant to your role as a global citizen, you are good to go.
Read the full email after the jump.
Dear SIPA Community,
Last Tuesday, SIPA’s Office of Career Services received a call from a former student currently employed by the U.S. Department of State who pointed out that the U.S. government documents released during the past few months through WikiLeaks are still considered classified. The caller suggested that students who will be applying for federal jobs that require background checks avoid posting links to these documents or making comments about them on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter.
OCS emailed this cautionary suggestion to students, as it has done many times with other information that could be helpful in seeking employment after graduation. We know that many students today share a great deal about their lives online and that employers may use that information when evaluating their candidacy. Subsequent news stories have indicated that the Department of State has issued guidelines for its own employees, but has not issued any guidelines for prospective employees.
Freedom of information and expression is a core value of our institution. Thus, SIPA’s position is that students have a right to discuss and debate any information in the public arena that they deem relevant to their studies or to their roles as global citizens, and to do so without fear of adverse consequences. The WikiLeaks documents are accessible to SIPA students (and everyone else) from a wide variety of respected sources, as are multiple means of discussion and debate both in and outside of the classroom.
Should the U.S. Department of State issue any guidelines relating to the WikiLeaks documents for prospective employees, SIPA will make them available immediately.
John H. Coatsworth
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