Social Media

Social Media

Social Media Policy
Effective: 9/2/14
Contact: College Relations and Marketing

I  Purpose & Scope of Policy
William Jewell College (“College”) acknowledges that social media may be used to further the College’s mission by providing channels of interaction and engagement between the College and students, parents, faculty, employees, alumni, fans, media, the surrounding community, potential students and donors, etc. The College supports this kind of participation in social media and is committed to academic freedom in these channels.

Social media is defined as media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media includes, but is not limited to:

  • Virtual worlds/social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, YouTube, wikis, audio/video file sharing, Twitter)
  • Video and photo sharing websites (e.g. YouTube, Instagram, Flickr, Snap chat, Vine)
  • Blogging sites (e.g., college blogs, personal blogs or blogs hosted by media publications,)
  • Forums, discussion boards (e.g., Yahoo Groups, Google+, Google Groups), news article comments and online encyclopedias (e.g. Wikipedia)
  • Other, similar technologies

The purpose of this policy is to encourage the use of social media by institutional users while making sure usage is in line with applicable state and federal laws and regulations, and to provide protection to the College’s reputation and other members of its community. While this policy primarily focuses on social media accounts that are College-owned and College-controlled, it also provides general guidelines regarding personal use.

Nothing herein is designed to be so far reaching that it might foreclose any legal rights of an employee or student, including an employee’s right to discuss conditions of employment.

II Use of the College’s Social Media Accounts
This section outlines the College’s rules of engagement and expectations when using College-owned and controlled social media on behalf of the College within the scope of your employment. This section does not apply to an employee’s or student’s use of their personal social media accounts.

  • Use good judgment with content. William Jewell College will not tolerate content that is threatening, defamatory, illegal, obscene, infringing of intellectual property rights, invasive of privacy, profane, libelous, discriminatory, harassing, bullying, abusive, hateful or embarrassing to any person or entity, in violation of College policy, or otherwise injurious or objectionable. The College reserves the right to take down any content it deems intolerable. However, the College does not intend this paragraph to limit opposing ideas and viewpoints in the course of legitimate social media interactions.
  • Protect the institutional voice. Posts on social media sites should protect the College’s institutional voice by remaining professional in tone and in good taste.
  • Have a plan. Departments should consider their messages, audiences, and goals as well as strategy for keeping information on social media sites up-to-date. The Office of College Relations and Marketing can assist and advise you with your social media planning.
  • Be mindful of copyright and intellectual property rights of others and the College and of College policies regarding those rights.
  • Do not disseminate confidential information. This is especially important in relation to the federal HIPAA and FERPA laws and regulations.
  • Administrators of College-owned and controlled social media accounts must observe all other College policies and user guidelines while utilizing social media.
  • Represent the College in a positive light. Keep in mind that a non-active or poorly managed social media account can and will reflect negatively on the College.
  • Use common sense!
  • Give credit where credit is due. When using the thoughts, ideas, quotes, pictures, videos, etc. of other parties, give them credit for their work. Provide a link when possible. See point E above.
  • When using social media in the recruitment of prospective students, do so in accordance with College policy and any other outside regulating bodies.

III Personal Use of Social Media
This section applies to personal use of social media. Further, it outlines the potential impact of personal social media use to your employment or student relationship with the College.

  • College issued computers, hardware, information technology accounts, and information technology infrastructure are property owned and operated by the College. As a result, the law does not grant you an expectation of privacy in your usage of them.
  • You are prohibited from using the William Jewell College name or image to endorse an opinion, product, cause, business, or political candidate or otherwise holding yourself out as a representative of the College when you are not. When expressing a personal opinion, acknowledge this, especially if your statement could be reasonably interpreted by the message receiver that you are speaking on behalf of the College. You can use the following statement to help dissociate your opinions from those of the College: “The views expressed herein are my personal opinions and are not necessarily those of William Jewell College.”
  • The College considers it unprofessional for its employees to maintain social friendships with current students on personal social media accounts.
  • Think first, post second. The things that can get you in trouble and subject you to discipline in “real life” with the College can do the same in the realm of the internet and social media. Some examples include: sexually harassing a colleague, inappropriate interactions with students, derogatory statements, threatening or intimidating others, violating privacy policies/laws, or defamation.
  • Generally, employees should manage their personal social media accounts on their own time. There may be de minimis personal use of social media while utilizing College resources but only to the extent such use does not hinder an employee’s job productivity, the productivity of other employees, or College programs/activities. However, it is acknowledged that faculty may choose to use their personal social media accounts in furtherance of their academic endeavors and employment with the College and this policy is not intended to hinder that option.
  • Be mindful of copyright and intellectual property rights of others and the College and of College policies regarding those rights.
  • Institutional staff members may use social media in the recruitment of prospective students.  However, use of personal social media accounts to contact potential students with whom you do not have close personal relationships in an attempt to recruit or entice them to attend William Jewell College is prohibited.

IV Non-Compliance/Breach of Policy
Violations of this policy will result in a review of the incident and may include action under appropriate College discipline processes. Corrective action may involve a verbal or written warning, suspension or dismissal and/or termination of employment or privileges with the College. This section does not preclude disciplinary action for conduct that involves social media and that also violates other College policies.