June 12, 2017
Last Revision Date
Marketing and Communications
All employees including but not limited to, administrators, faculty, and staff.
The purpose of this policy is to establish and maintain the standards of electronic communications and social media by those employed by Marymount University (“University”). As an institution of learning, the University respects and encourages healthy and productive discourse in online format.
1.1 Social Media
- “Social media” refers to, but is not limited to, blogs (Web-based journals) and microblogs (e.g. Tumblr), collaborative websites (e.g., Wikipedia, etc.), messages boards and forums, social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), podcasts (multimedia distributed over the internet), video sharing (e.g. Youtube), and photo sharing (e.g. Instagram).
2.0 Employee Personal Account
2.1 Right to Privacy
- Pursuant to Virginia law §40.1-28.7:5, the University will not require the disclosure of usernames and passwords of current employees or potential employees.
2.2 Be Respectful
- Always be fair and courteous to fellow associates, customers, members, suppliers, or people who work on behalf of the University. Nevertheless, if you decide to post complaints or criticism, avoid using statements, photographs, video, or audio that reasonably could be viewed as malicious, obscene, threatening, or intimidating, or that might constitute harassment or bullying.
- Examples of such conduct might include offensive posts meant to intentionally harm someone’s reputation or posts that could contribute to a hostile work environment on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion, or any other status protected by law or company Policy.
2.3 Be Honest and Accurate
- Make sure you are always honest and accurate when posting information or news, and if you make a mistake, correct it quickly. Be open about any previous posts you have altered.
- Remember that the internet archives almost everything; therefore, even deleted postings can be searched. Never post any information or rumors that you know to be false about the University, fellow associates, members, customers, suppliers, people working on behalf of the University, or competitors.
2.4 Appropriate and Confidential Information
- Maintain the confidentiality of the University’s trade secrets and private or confidential information. Trade secrets may include information regarding the development of systems, processes, products, know-how, and technology. Do not post internal reports, policies, procedures, or other internal business-related confidential communications.
- Do not create a link from your blog, website, or other social networking site to a University website without identifying yourself as a Marymount employee. Employees are prohibited from using the official Marymount University logo or brand without prior permission from the University.
- Express only your personal opinions. Never represent yourself as a spokesperson for the University. If Marymount University is a subject of the content you are creating, be clear and open about the fact that you are an employee and make it clear that your views do not represent those of the University.
- If you do publish a blog or post online related to the work you do or subjects associated with the University, make it clear that you are not speaking on behalf of the University. It is best to include a disclaimer such as “The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Marymount University.”
2.5 Using Social Media at Work
- Refrain from using social media while on work time or on equipment we provide, unless it is work-related as authorized by your manager. Do not use the Marymount email addresses to register on social networks, blogs, or other online tools designed for personal use.
2.6 Retaliation is Prohibited
- The University prohibits taking negative action against any employee for reporting a possible deviation from this policy or for cooperating in an investigation. Any associate who retaliates against another associate for reporting a possible deviation from this policy or for cooperating in an investigation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
3.1 Responsibility to Report
- Social networking sites, such as Facebook, pose specific concerns for managers of Marymount. While employees of the University are expected to follow the guidelines and expectations outlined in the Social Media Policy, managers must be aware of their responsibility to report and respond to any inappropriate postings or behaviors online that are observed or brought to their attention.
- Incidents of workplace harassment and discrimination by employees should be reported to Human Resources and investigated regardless of whether it occurs in person or online. Inappropriate conduct online is just as serious as inappropriate conduct in the workplace.
3.2 “Friending” Employees
The University strongly discourages supervisors and managers from “friending” or obtaining access to employee’s personal online information when it is not work-related and there is no business necessity. While maintaining personal relationships with employees is important from an employee relations standpoint, the sensitivity of the type of information available on social networking sites and the risks associated with employer access to such personal employee information may create workplace conflicts.
4.0 Managing Official Social Media Initiatives
These guidelines are designed to help Marymount employees, volunteers, affiliates and consultants in making appropriate decisions when managing and/or developing social media initiatives and content on behalf of the University. When hosting a Marymount-affiliated social media account, you are representing the University and are expected to adhere to the highest standards of ethical and professional behavior.
4.1 Adhere to Existing University Policies
4.2 Privacy and Confidentiality
- Never post confidential and proprietary information, data or communications, and always follow federal standards such as FERPA and HIPAA. If you are unsure whether information is confidential or not, please contact the Office of Marketing & Communications and/or the University’s Risk Manager.
- Do not use or disclose personally identifiable information such as, but not limited to, protected health information, student records, employee information, home addresses, social security numbers, etc. Do not post gift or donor information without permission and coordination with the Office of Advancement.
4.3 Protect Intellectual Property
- Follow copyright, fair use and intellectual property rights and laws.
- Use of third-party copyrighted or trademarked material or use of a person’s likeness without permission in digital content may be illegal and expose Marymount to significant financial liability and reputational risk. Individual departments/units are responsible for obtaining the necessary clearance for use of intellectual property rights (i.e. music, photos) and a person’s likeness in connection with their communications activities.
- Always attribute content, including comments, posts and assets, that originate from another account.
4.4 Prioritize Accuracy
- Always fact check before posting content on social media.
- Ensure proper spelling, grammar and punctuation – review content for any possible mistakes multiple times before clicking “post.” If possible, have content reviewed by another team member prior to posting.
- Correct any mistakes quickly and visibly.
4.5 Uphold the Marymount Brand
- Only use Marymount’s identity, such as name, color and emblems, in accordance with the University’s Branding Guidelines.
- Updated Marymount logos for proper usage are available here. Any modifications must be approved through the Office of Marketing & Communications.
- The Marymount brand cannot be modified or used for personal endorsements, and the trademarked Marymount name cannot be used to promote a product, business, cause, political party or candidate unless approved by the Office of Marketing & Communications.
- Remain professional and protect Marymount’s institutional brand. All posts, comments and actions on social media networks have the ability to affect the reputation of the University, as well as other individuals affiliated with Marymount.
4.6 No Political Statements or Opinions
- Don’t express political opinions or engage in political activities while engaging on social media on Marymount’s behalf.
- Social media content encouraging audiences to register and/or vote is permitted. Practice caution in regards to election-related posts, and maintain neutrality.
4.7 Avoid Conflicts of Interest
- Avoid engaging in behavior that could raise actual or apparent conflicts of interest on social networks.
- Activities prohibited include, but are not limited to, using University resources or property for personal gain; using confidential or privileged information acquired in connection with the individual’s University-supported activities for personal gain; and accepting gratuities or unsolicited gifts from private or public organizations with which the University conducts or may conduct business.
4.8 Minimize Security Risks
- Use strong, randomized passwords for any Marymount-affiliated social media accounts, and change passwords on a regular basis.
- Limit direct access to social profiles to only the main administrator (who must be an employee) and users who regularly post content. Remove access immediately for anyone who is no longer an employee or affiliated with Marymount University.
- Activate multi-factor authentication for all accounts when it is an available option.
- Register accounts using only Marymount.edu email addresses, ideally a general office/department email instead of an individual employee’s address.
- Ensure continuity of access to Marymount-affiliated social media accounts in case of employee turnover.
4.9 Moderate Activity & Comments
- Comments are an important part of social networking, and users should feel welcome to interact with Marymount-affiliated accounts. However, it’s important to consistently monitor social accounts and delete any comments that are spam, expose the private data of others, contain commercial solicitations or are threatening, abusive, obscene or discriminatory.
- Comments should not be deleted simply because you disagree with the commenter’s point of view. If making any replies to comments or messages, consider how your response may reflect on you, your department and the University.
4.10 Creating, Maintaining and Removing Social Media Accounts
- Creation of social media accounts bearing the Marymount University name/brand must be approved by the Office of Marketing & Communications, and information on the account’s administrators must be shared with the Office of Marketing & Communications in order to ensure proper oversight and access.
- Content and overall social media presence should reflect the University’s brand identity.
- Post relevant and timely information geared to your specific audience on a consistent basis. Ensure proper approval is met for publicizing content.
- Always use good judgment. Your actions and statements have the ability to not only affect yourself but others at Marymount and the University as a whole. Remember that any social media posts on a Marymount-affiliated account can be interpreted as representing the University’s official point of view. Also remember that social media posts can be replicated quickly, be taken out of context and remain public for an indeterminate amount of time.
- While student workers can be tremendous collaborators on social media initiatives, they should not be the “owners” of official Marymount-branded social media accounts. These profiles should be owned and maintained by staff and/or faculty as appropriate.
- Remove any dormant social media accounts bearing the Marymount brand.
- Document every employee who has access and passwords for each of the department’s social media accounts.
- Make sure at least two employees have access to every social media account. At least one of them should be a full-time University employee.
4.11 Navigating Unique Situations
- Over time when managing a social media account, there are many instances when you will be responsible for deciding whether or not to post about or respond to unprecedented situations or trends. Examples include social justice-themed movements like Black Lives Matter, or cases of missing persons who are or may have been affiliated with Marymount.
- In these situations, it is critically important to follow the lead of the main Marymount University social media accounts (which will be following guidance from the University President and Cabinet).
4.12 Synergizing Efforts
- Department-level Marymount-affiliated social media accounts tend to have a more limited audience than University-wide accounts. With that in mind, create content that is specifically targeted towards that narrower audience.
- We encourage you to also post content that complements content being produced by official Marymount University social media accounts.
- Help the Marymount community stay connected by linking back to the University homepage and other Marymount social media sites. When possible, link to a Marymount news source instead of an outside source.
- Are you promoting something on your account that you feel could be worthy of a wider audience? Inform the Office of Marketing & Communications, which will determine the best way to proceed.
4.13 Maximizing Accessibility
All video content that is posted either online or on University social media accounts must be captioned with subtitles. These captions should match any spoken words throughout the video, instead of being auto-generated, and should match the pacing of the dialogue as well.
5.0 Violation(s) of Policy
Violations of this policy in the form of misrepresentation of Marymount University or commentary, content, or images that are defamatory, pornographic, proprietary, harassing or libelous, or that can create a hostile work/learning environment will result in discipline as set forth by the Progressive Discipline Policy.
The University reserves the right to amend this policy at any time.