Twitter vs. Law

Parties promoted through Twitter; public safety director weighs in

The days of passing notes in class are over; parties and other nightlife events are now mainly promoted using social media. On the Big Rapids main campus, the @TwerkFerris Twitter account announces parties weekly.

In addition to @TwerkFerris and its near 1,400 followers, @FerrisPartyRock was a popular account last year with over 3,000 followers. Information available at the click of a button sounds great, but might the transparency of this information make underage drinking an easy catch for law enforcement?

Bruce Borkovich, Director of Public Safety at Ferris, is commented on the emergence of social media and how it affects his job.

“Social media does make it easier to communicate and advertise any event,” Borkovich said. “If [students] are looking to just have fun and have parties, that’s great. But it does give people a way to communicate for illegal activities, too.”

James Beamon, a former Ferris student, used to help promote events with @TwerkFerris. In the past, parties have featured DJs and even free kegs. Some of these events were “icebreakers” for student camaraderie after football games and Beamon said that social media was essential to get the word out.

“With Twitter, for example, people can retweet your promotion and it’ll get to all of their followers,” Beamon said. “It’s one of the fastest and most effective ways to spread the news.”

As a freshman Public Relations major, Chandler Owen doesn’t exactly feel the same way about promoting potentially illegal activities.

“It’s way too risky to be caught up in that. I’ll leave the promoting up to the party throwers.” As for attending, Owen is equally hesitant. “I usually steer clear of parties when they’re publicized over the internet,” Owen said.

Last year, identified 772 local and state law enforcement entities with Twitter handles written in English.

According to Borkovich, Ferris Public Safety does not have a presence on Twitter, but it does now have a Facebook page which is “kind of in its infancy.” Overall, he’s not too concerned about social media being a public safety issue.

“You’ll find most of these parties are just young people getting together and having fun,” Borkovich said.

But this doesn’t mean Borkovich advocates excessive drinking, especially if the student is a minor. He stresses that drinking and assault, both traditional and sexual, go hand in hand.

“There’s no question that there’s a correlation between the two. Everyone knows they have to be 21 in order to drink,” Borkovich said.

As for the rumors of increased police action on Michigan Avenue this year, Borkovich said that “strategy hasn’t really changed.”

Welcome weekend is a different story. “We always try to police [welcome weekend] heavily,” Borkovich said. “We want students to have a great time, but we also want them to be safe. We want to try to stop any excessive drinking or drinking and driving, so we always enforce alcohol violations very strictly.”

“We just really want to caution everyone, regardless of age, the dangers of over-consumption,” Borkovich said.

For more information, visit the Department of Public Safety’s new Facebook page at