Electronic Communications and Social Media Registry Policies

Social Media Registry Policy

For a department's or organization's page/site to be considered for the UST social media registry:

  1. Pages/sites must feature primarily St. Thomas-related content.
  2. Pages/sites must be initiated and maintained by a St. Thomas employee in an official capacity.
  3. Pages or accounts must exist within a commercial service that facilitates social media, such as Facebook, Twitter or Youtube. (This does not include independently-maintained Web pages or blogs.)
  4. Pages/sites must regularly be updated with fresh content. Failure to do so will result in a notification e-mail and possibly removal from the registry.
  5. "Liking" or following is equivalent to an endorsement. Pages/sites may endorse other St. Thomas sites or professionally related sites (i.e. professional associations, past or current vendors, or other parties under contract with UST), but not non-contractually related third-party companies, products, causes, political parties or candidates.

Electronic Communications Policy for Non-Academic Personnel

The policy below applies to staff performing non-academic administrative functions and their work with communications on behalf of the university.

The University of St. Thomas recognizes that social media and other forms of electronic communication can be effective tools for doing your job and supporting the university’s interests. This policy has been developed to help you use the tools successfully and manage the risks. When you communicate about the university or matters that affect the university, our students, faculty, staff and/or alumni, you’re expected to follow the Code of Conduct (PDF) and all university policies – even if you do so outside of work. Violation of policies or guidelines will be cause for appropriate disciplinary action.

What this policy covers: Texting, email, instant messaging, social networking, content sharing and electronic communications on behalf of the university.

When this policy applies: If you are communicating about matters that affect the university, this policy applies whether you are at work or not, on university time or not, using university equipment or not. Nothing in this policy is meant to imply that you can’t express your personal opinions or that you are expected to work outside of designated hours.

Just as social media and its parameters for privacy or design change frequently, this policy will regularly evolve.

General Considerations
Our expectations of you are the same online as offline. If you wouldn’t say it or do it in person, don’t say it or do it electronically.

If you work for the University of St. Thomas, your actions reflect the University of St. Thomas. In the digital world, your business and personal lives are likely to intersect. Even if you’re expressing a personal opinion, the public, our constituents, and the courts may view you as representing the university. When discussing matters that affect the university, know and keep in mind the university’s official positions on academic, business, legislative and social issues.

Assume nothing stays private. Information intended just for friends or family can be forwarded and found through search engines. Information intended just for colleagues, current students or prospective students can find its way outside of university email or become part of a public court case.

Assume everything is permanent. Once something is in an electronic format, it can be retrieved from your phone or computer even after you’ve deleted it. Once something is online, it’s nearly impossible to remove it or make it anonymous.

Assume anything could become evidence in court. You and the university could be held responsible for what you say. For example, if you claim a professor teaches in a certain way, or an advisor advises in a certain way, or a coach coaches in a certain way, courts or government regulators may consider that a guarantee.

Follow the law and university policies: Those include confidentiality, privacy, trademark, and disclosure laws requiring you to reveal your connection to the university.

When in doubt, ask. If you’re not certain what is appropriate, ask the New Media Initiatives Group at socialmedia@stthomas.edu, University Relations, Web and Media Services, or your supervisor.

DO respect the law and business relationships.
• Follow copyright, trademark and fair-use laws when sharing content.
• Follow privacy, libel, slander, defamation, harassment and discrimination laws when communicating about others.
• Seek permission from prospective students, current students, faculty, colleagues, alumni and donors before mentioning them publicly.

DO be transparent.
• When communicating about matters that affect the university, identify your university connection, be clear about your role and use your real name in addition to any screen name or user name. The only exception is if you’re officially designated to communicate under a university identity, such as IRTHelp@stthomas.edu, or through social media such as Twitter or Facebook.
• Clearly and conspicuously disclose your relationship with the university when recommending, reviewing, endorsing or giving a testimonial for any of the university’s courses, research, or other achievements.
• If you list the university as your employer in profile information, make sure the profile and the content you post is consistent with how you wish to present yourself to colleagues, prospective students, current students, faculty, staff, alumni, vendors, regulators and others with whom you interact.

DO be accurate.
• Stay within your area of expertise. If you see a negative or inaccurate post about the university in an area not under your responsibility, pass it along to the subject matter expert.
• Before approaching or responding to the media, consult with the university’s News Service (2-6500, www.stthomas.edu/newsservice).
• Remember that all communication is global. What might be appropriate or applicable in one place might be inappropriate or even illegal in another.

DO be considerate.
Treat everyone with respect. Resist picking online fights, getting involved in long debates or angrily saying something you’ll regret later. Understand that etiquette may be different in a venue such as Twitter than on a message board with its own rules. Recognize that etiquette may be different in cultures, countries or languages other than your own.

DO NOT release confidential information. Even within the university, sharing confidential information can be inappropriate. Refer to the Copyright at UST policy for more details.

DO NOT imply that the University of St. Thomas is adverse to competition. That includes bragging words such as “dominating the market” or words that disparage competitors.

DO NOT offer legal advice or comment on legal matters unless authorized. This includes court cases, lawsuits, research claims, and indentifying people in disputes with the university.

DO NOT endorse companies, products, causes, a political party or candidate on behalf of the university.

DO NOT use university logos incorrectly. University logos should not be used on personal pages or sites, unless you are sharing a link. For our branding guidelines, visit www.stthomas.edu/marcomm.

Human Resources policies: http://www.stthomas.edu/hr/handbooksandpolicies/
Social Media @ St. Thomas: www.stthomas.edu/socialmedia
Brand: www.stthomas.edu/marcomm
Copyright: http://www.stthomas.edu/copyright/copyrightlaw/
UST’s Facebook: www.facebook.com/uofstthomasmn
UST’s Twitter: www.twitter.com/uofstthomasmn
UST’s YouTube: www.youtube.com/universityofstthomas
UST’s LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/university-of-st-thomas
UST’s Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/universityofstthomas/