Social Media Policy

This social media policy is in effect for faculty, staff and students who participate in social media for and on behalf of the university. A revised policy will be issued soon.

Introduction

Social media are powerful communications and marketing tools that may have a significant impact on organizational and professional reputations. Because there is not always a clear distinction between personal voice and institutional voice, the University of Dallas has crafted the following policy to help clarify how best to enhance and protect personal and professional reputations when participating in social media.

Social media from the University of Dallas is intended to supplement, not replace, the channels currently in place for press, news, events, announcements and student communication.

Social media are defined as media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Examples include but are not limited to Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube.

Both in professional and institutional roles, employees should follow the same behavioral standards online as they would elsewhere. The same laws, professional expectations and guidelines for interacting with students, parents, alumni, donors, media and other university constituents apply online and offline. Employees and student-representatives of the school are personally liable for anything they post to social media sites.

Policies for Social Media Sites, Including Personal Sites

  1. Protect confidential and proprietary information: Do not post confidential or proprietary information about the University of Dallas, students, employees or alumni. Employees must still follow the applicable federal requirements such as FERPA, PCI-DSS and HIPAA, as well as NCAA regulations and must also adhere to all applicable university privacy and confidentiality policies. Employees who share confidential information do so at the risk of disciplinary action or termination.
  2. Respect copyright and fair use: When posting, be mindful of the copyright and intellectual property rights of others and of the university.
  3. Don’t use University of Dallas logos for endorsements: Do not use the University of Dallas logo or any other university images or iconography on personal social media sites. Do not use University of Dallas’ name to promote a product, cause or political party or candidate.
  4. Terms of service: Obey the terms of service of any social media platform employed.

Best Practices

This section applies to those posting on behalf of an official university unit, though the guidelines may be helpful for anyone posting on social media in any capacity.

  1. Think twice before posting: Privacy does not exist in the world of social media. Consider what could happen if a post becomes widely known and how that may reflect on the poster and the university. Search engines can turn up posts years after they are created, and comments can be forwarded or copied. If you wouldn’t say it at a conference or to a member of the media, consider whether you should post it online. If you are unsure about posting something or responding to a comment, ask your supervisor for input or contact the Office of Marketing and Communication at (972) 721-5194.
  2. Strive for accuracy: Get the facts straight before posting them on social media. Review content for grammatical and spelling errors. This is especially important if posting on behalf of the university in any capacity. (See “Institutional Social Media” section below.)
  3. Be respectful: Understand that content contributed to a social media site could encourage comments or discussion of opposing ideas. Responses should be considered carefully in light of how they would reflect on the poster and/or the university and its institutional voice.
  4. Remember your audience: Be aware that a presence in the social media world is or easily can be made available to the public at large. This includes prospective students, current students, current employers and colleagues, and peers. Consider this before publishing to ensure the post will not alienate, harm or provoke any of these groups.
  5. On personal sites, identify your views as your own. If you identify yourself as a University of Dallas faculty or staff member online, it should be clear that the views expressed are not necessarily those of the institution.
  6. Photography: Photographs posted on social media sites easily can be appropriated by visitors. Consider adding a watermark and/or posting images at 72 dpi and approximately 800x600 resolution to protect your intellectual property. Images at that size are sufficient for viewing on the Web, but not suitable for printing.

Institutional Social Media

If you post on behalf of an official university unit, the following policies must be followed, in addition to all of the policies and best practices listed above:

  1. Notify the university: Departments or university units that have a social media page or would like to start one should contact the Office of Marketing and Communication at (972) 721-5194 to ensure all institutional social media sites coordinate with other University of Dallas sites and their content. All institutional pages must have a full-time employee (not a part-time employee, intern or graduate assistant) who is identified as being responsible for content and at least one full-time employee as a backup. We will verify your employment and that you are authorized by the department to run the social media profile. Ideally, this should be the unit head of the department. The university will provide a common page on which all official institutional pages are listed.
  2. Acknowledge who you are: If you are representing the University of Dallas when posting on a social media platform, acknowledge this.
  3. Have a plan: Departments should consider their messages, audiences and goals, as well as a strategy for keeping information on social media sites up-to-date. The Office of Marketing and Communication can assist and advise you with your social media planning.
  4. Link back to the university: Whenever possible, link back to University of Dallas sites. Ideally, posts should be very brief; redirecting a visitor to content that resides within the University of Dallas web environment. When linking to a news article about the University of Dallas, check first to see whether you can link to a release directly from www.udallas.edu.
  5. Protect the institutional voice: Posts on social media sites should protect the university’s institutional voice by remaining professional in tone and in good taste. No individual University of Dallas unit should construe its social media site as representing the university as a whole. Consider this when naming pages or accounts, selecting a profile picture or icon, and selecting content to post—names, profile images and posts should all be clearly linked to the particular department or unit rather than to the institution as a whole.

Institutional Social Media Comment Policy

The university expects conversations to follow the rules of polite discourse and asks that participants treat each other with respect. University employees will not post or approve post comments that include:

  1. Profanity and vulgar or abusive language
  2. Threats of physical or bodily harm
  3. Sensitive information (for example, information that could compromise public safety or intellectual property)
  4. Offensive terms
  5. Vendor/commercial promotions that are not officially sanctioned by in the University of Dallas

Social Media Policy Notification

Social media sites each have their own terms and conditions and/or policies, all university employees must adhere to these policies if they choose to use social media platforms. Not following these policies/terms may lead to the removal of your social media account and may adversely affect or reflect poorly upon other areas of the university. Please keep up to date on social media platform policies/terms.

Social Media Public Use Policy

To ensure exchanges that are productive, informative, respectful of diverse viewpoints and lawful, we will review all comments and we will not post comments that are, or include:

Off Topic - We will exclude comments not related to the subject of the conversation. If you have an idea for a subject, would like to provide feedback, or would like a university representative to follow-up with you, you may email us directly at rdaley@udallas.edu;

Spam - Comments focused on selling a product or service, or comments posted for a purpose of driving traffic to a particular website for personal, political, or monetary gain will be excluded;

Personal Attacks - If you disagree with the content, we would like to hear from you, but ask that you refrain from personal attacks or being disrespectful to others. Malicious intent and/or participation not in the spirit of civil conversation will be excluded;

Illegal - Posts must not violate laws that govern use of copyrights, trade secrets, etc;

Offensive Language - Comments including, but not limited to, profane or provocative language will be excluded. Comments that contain threatening, hateful, offensive, derogatory, obscene or sexually explicit language will not be tolerated;

Private or Confidential Information - Please do not provide any personal information when posting comments;

Posts in HTML Format (or URLs) -  Please only use plain text when submitting your comments;

Posts from Individuals, Under the Age of 13 - These will not be accepted;

Posts Containing Photos - These will not be accepted unless specifically requested by an authorized representative of the university for a contest or other business-related purpose. In these instances, pictures will be reviewed and will not be posted if deemed inappropriate.

All comments are reviewed, monitored and approved by the university to our social media sites. At our sole discretion, the university reserves the right to deny the posting of any comment we deem inappropriate.

 

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