Students have mixed reactions to befriending professors on Facebook

Juana Esquivel

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CSUN has no policy which prevents professors and students from being friends on Facebook.

Steven Stepanek, chair and professor of the CSUN computer science department said that while there is no policy, there are university rules that transcend electronic media on what is appropriate and applicable.

He added that it all depends on the content and what is being written.

“I don’t believe there’s a problem between a professor and student befriending each other (on Facebook),” Stepanek said in a telephone interview.

Some CSUN students do not like the idea of having their professors as friends on Facebook.

One of those students is  Jessica Cortez, 19, English major.

“I think you should have a different relationship with your professors, it shouldn’t be a friend relationship, it should just be they teach and that’s it.”

Cortez added that she does not think it is professional for professors and students to be friends on Facebook.

“School, especially college should be a professional atmosphere and it (student/teacher friendship) makes it not seem professional,” she said. “It’s like having your boss (…) on Facebook.  You should keep certain things apart.  You shouldn’t mix them.”

Cortez said she does not think there should be a policy which prevents professors and students from being friends on Facebook.

“It’s like saying ‘Thank you’ and ‘welcome’”, she said. “It’s just something you should do. There are no rules about being polite. People know you need to be polite so I just think that people should know that you should keep your professors not as friends. I don’t think it’s right.”

Cortez added it is up to the individual whether or not he or she wants to add their students or professors on Facebook.

“If they (students) want to have their friends and teachers (on Facebook), that’s on them. But I just have a different point of view of Facebook,” she said.

Monica Ibarra, 20, sociology major, said she does not have a good enough relationship with any of her professors to be friends with them on Facebook, but does with some of her teachers from high school.

“It depends on the person,” Ibarra said. “If they can keep the relationship as a professor and a student that’s good but if they go out of bounds, it could be negative or positive.”

Ibarra also does not think there should be a policy that prevents professors and students from being friends on Facebook.

“I don’t see anything wrong with it so I don’t see why there would have to be a policy,” Ibarra said. “I guess it all depends if there would be negative consequences because of the relationship a student has with a professor.”