By Megan Matthews
In the past months, while many public colleges and universities have been taking steps to restrict access to TikTok on their campuses, Grand Rapids Community College administrators are taking a wait-and-see approach.
More than a dozen schools have issued bans or changes to their policies in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Montana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas.
“There is definitely a great deal of discussion and debate about TikTok around the country,” said Dave Murray, Grand Rapids Community Colleges’ Communications Director in an email. “Several state governments have banned the use of the app on government phones and other devices, and several universities have taken that step as well.”
These college and university policy changes are due to administrators believing that there could be potential security issues from foreign governments, specifically China, using the app as a way to spy on those using the platform.
At this time, GRCC has made no changes to its policies regarding TikTok usage on campus.
“GRCC, like other colleges, is following the situation closely,” Murray said. “We have not made a recommendation about a ban on campus devices and networks at this point. We continue to monitor the situation and look for guidance from state and national experts. Student and staff safety is a top concern, whether people are here on campus or online. We remain vigilant, and work closely with our colleagues to be proactive when we see dangerous situations arising.”
As more campuses are taking steps to ban TikTok, many students reject the idea of such a popular app no longer being available to them during their school day.
“I don’t see a reason why they should ban it personally,” said GRCC student Natalie Burns, 19 of Greenville. “I think people would be upset and a lot of students would feel violated. If I could talk to the president of GRCC I would tell him don’t do it because the backlash wouldn’t be worth it.”
However, others view policy changes such as banning TikTok on-campus Wi-Fi as a minor inconvenience and are receptive to the idea.
“I guess it’s fine,” said GRCC student Emanuel Alcantara, 18, of Grand Rapids. ”It’s a private network. They own and they just wanna protect what’s theirs. I think they have the right to do that and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. Some people would be upset at a ban, but I think it would be minimal and people would accept it. I think they should.”
Collegiate writers Kevin Lopez and Kaden Boock contributed to this report.