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Social Media Policy and Procedure

Purpose:

Purchase College, SUNY, encourages the appropriate use of social media as a method for communicating ideas and information, and as part of our educational mission.

This policy governs employees of Purchase College, specifically the behavior of individuals as they utilize a variety of social media technologies and is not limited to any specific media format.

Social Media Defined:

For the purpose of this policy, social media is defined as Web-based and mobile technologies that enable the exchange of user-generated content and conversation.

Policy:

  1. College-Related Social Media: Official Purchase College social media channels may allow members of the public to comment or react to posted content and information. Individuals, including employees of Purchase College acting in their personal capacity, may post or comment anonymously or identifiably. In general, Purchase College invites discussion of important ideas and issues through social media. However, Purchase College reserves the right to remove posts of comments that are obscene, defamatory, offensive, contain threats of violence, abusive, spam or advertising, or unrelated to the content or information. Purchase College also reserves the right to remove posts of comments that violate applicable laws including, but not limited to, copyright and trademark, or those that violate the use policies promulgated by the applicable social media provider.

  2. If authorized and in keeping with Purchase College policy, college departments may use social media to promote the educational mission of the college. Uses may include recruitment of new students, communications with accepted and registered students, fundraising and alumni relations.

  3. Departments may use the College’s name, address, telephone numbers and logo for social networking purposes.

  4. Departments must identify an individual faculty/staff member who will be responsible for the maintenance of social media sites.

  5. In any communications on social media, all faculty/staff must identify themselves by name and title with the College.

  6. In any use of social media, College departments, including all faculty/staff of such departments, shall not violate any laws and/or college policies including, but not limited to those regarding:

  7. inappropriate language;

  8. Inappropriate pictures of any sort or kind;

  9. Posting or promoting illegal activity or proof of illegal activity;

  10. Harassing or discriminating against any person;

  11. Posting defaming comments or remarks against any person;

  12. Copyright and trademark.

  13. Posting any personal opinions of any sort or kind regarding the College without a disclaimer that such opinions are not the official position of the College and/or

  14. Posting unprofessional or rude comments, responses or postings of any sort or kind about the College or its employees

Personal Social Media (using campus resources):

  1. Any use of or access to personal social media done during business hours on College computing and networking resources shall be consistent with the College’s Information Technology Resources Acceptable Use Policy, including personal incidental use.

  2. In any personal use of social media, the use of any College logos, trademarks, letterhead, pictures, address and/or telephone numbers is strictly prohibited.

  3. Do not use the College’s name to promote or endorse any product, cause or political party or candidate.

  4. The Official College website or College-sanctioned social media sites, College-wide or departmental, shall not include links to personal sites.

  5. College-issued email addresses should not be used for personal social media use.

  6. There is no right or expectation of privacy in the personal use of the College’s computing and networking resources.

  7. By using the College’s computing and networking resources, the faculty/staff member is consenting to monitoring of the use by the College without further notice to the faculty/staff member.

  8. In any personal use of social media, the user shall not violate any laws and/or college policies, including but not limited to those regarding:

    1. Inappropriate language;

    2. Inappropriate pictures of any sort or kind;

    3. Posting or promoting illegal activity or proof of illegal activity;

    4. Harassing or discriminating against any person; v. Posting defaming comments or remarks against any person;

    5. Copyright and trademark.

    6. Posting any personal opinions of any sort or kind regarding the College without a disclaimer that such opinions are not the official position of the College and/or

    7. Posting unprofessional or rude comments, responses or postings of any sort or kind about the College or its employees.

Personal Use of Social Media (using personal resources):

  1. While faculty/staff may identify themselves as an employee of the College, they should be clear that they are not representing the view of the College.

  2. The use of any College logos, trademarks, and letterhead, pictures, address and/or telephone numbers is strictly prohibited.

  3. Do not use the College’s name to promote or endorse any product, cause or political party or candidate.

  4. The Official College website or College-sanctioned social media sites, College-wide or departmental, shall not include links to personal sites.

  5. College-issued email addresses should not be used for personal social media.

  6. If it is generally accessible, employers can look at social media sites.

  7. Individuals can be held liable for what they write online. Individuals have been held liable for commentary deemed to be proprietary, copyrighted, defamatory, libelous or obscene (as defined by the courts).

  8. Employees can be disciplined for content or images that are defamatory, pornographic, harassing, and libelous or are otherwise in violation of the law and that impact work.

Guidance:

  1. Be responsible

  2. Be authentic, factual, respectful

  3. Be careful

  4. Avoid engaging in on-line disputes

  5. Add value

  6. Be explicit that your views are your own

  7. Keep work out of it

  8. Be cautious when engaging students through social media

Remember—the Internet is permanent–don‘t write anything that you wouldn’t want to see attached to your name forever!

Sanctions:

Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action in accordance with appropriate Agreements between the State of New York and the various bargaining units.

Procedures for Establishing and Using Purchase College Social Media Channels:

To post on behalf of a College office or department:

  1. Notify the Publications and Electronic Media Office - Departments or offices that have a social media page or would like to start one must contact the Publications and Electronic Media Office so the office can keep track of College-represented pages and link new pages to official social media pages.

  2. Have a backup administrator – Purchase College’s Web Communications Manager (in the Publications and Electronic Media Office) must have administrative rights to your social media content, in case of emergency or employee turnover.

  3. Have a plan - Develop a strategy for keeping information on social media sites up to date and interesting.

  4. 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.