Electronic Communications Policy
Date Enacted or Revised: Enacted January 11, 2016; Revised April 16, 2018; August 9, 2021
- The format and content of all social media/websites/pages managed by McNeese or purporting to be communicating on behalf of any McNeese college, department, office, organization, or administrative unit (hereinafter referred as “sites”) must be coordinated through the Office of Marketing and Licensing and must comply with the University’s policies regarding logo usage and brand identity. This includes any use of the University’s name, logos, and other trademarked or copyrighted material. Where appropriate, the Office of Marketing and Licensing may determine that additional coordination with the University’s Web Design Task Force is required.
- All sites representing McNeese colleges, departments, offices, organizations, or administrative units must provide to the Office of Marketing and Licensing and to representatives of the Web Design Task Force free administrative accessibility to the sites.
- Anyone (employee, student, or other person) who represents or purports to represent McNeese in any fashion, by accepting the responsibility of maintaining an electronic media presence for or about McNeese State University, acknowledges that he/she will abide by the terms of this policy.
- Anyone utilizing state of Louisiana property, computer networks and/or state work time, may become subject to a state or federal Freedom of Information Act request. Any such request should be forwarded immediately (within 24 hours) to the Office of the President.
- Release of information deemed official by the University is subject to oversight by the Office of Public Relations and University Events. It is not permissible to release official news of the University without the prior approval from the Office of Public Relations and University Events. Any personal opinions or other statements published on a site—if not approved by the Office of Public Relations and University Events in advance—must include a disclaimer to the effect that the opinions or statements do not express the official position of McNeese State University. Any person posting comments on a site purporting to be hosted, organized, or managed in whole or in part by McNeese thereby accepts responsibility for those comments, and must agree to abide by the terms of this policy and all state and federal guidelines. Advertising or endorsement of external vendors or businesses, and political statements or endorsements are prohibited. All State of Louisiana rules regarding purchasing, contract confidentiality, proprietary information, and open records regulations apply, as well as federal guidelines regarding health information (HIPPA) and student records (FERPA), must be obeyed.
- Anyone utilizing or building a site that purports to represent McNeese, including any blog, Facebook page, Twitter site, YouTube channel, or other social medium is expected to follow the social media/web guidelines listed below.
- University representatives may at any time monitor sites that represent McNeese officially or purport or appear to represent McNeese. The University reserves the right to remove or request the removal of any content that violates any University policy, copyright law, trademark law, or other law.
- In an emergency or crisis: Information is not to be posted to any site about the situation without approval from the Office of Public Relations and University Events. If an event is unfolding on campus, refer all concerned persons to the University’s home page at www.mcneese.edu. Information based on speculation, rumors, or unconfirmed official University statements may complicate and delay efforts to communicate accurate information available about emergency responses. The presence of erroneous information should be reported immediately to the Office of Public Relations and University Events.
- All online fundraising at McNeese is coordinated with the Office of University Advancement. In addition, prior approval by the Vice President for Business Affairs may be required. All fundraising activities must follow the McNeese Fundraising Policy and related laws.
- University computers and work time are to be used for University-related business. It is appropriate to post at work if comments are directly related to accomplishing work goals, such as seeking sources for work-related information or working with others to resolve a problem; however, making personal postings and maintaining personal sites using McNeese equipment and/or during work hours is prohibited and may result in disciplinary action.
- Federal law permits system administrators to access electronic mail. Although it is not common practice at McNeese, the University reserves the right to review, audit, intercept, access, and disclose any information found on the University’s electronic resources at any time, with or without employee notice. Such access may occur during or after working hours. Any information submitted over the University’s electronic network is insecure and could be observed by a third party while in transit.
Social Media/Web Guidelines
The purpose of the following recommendations is to offer suggested guidelines for social media participants and to assist users who are new to social media. These recommendations should be considered advisory only. Any contradiction between these recommendations and the policy set forth above is entirely unintentional, and the language of the policy should be given priority over these recommendations for all purposes.
The term “social media” includes any form of online publication or presence that allows end users to engage in multi-directional conversations in or around the content that is intended to be shared and discussed in a social environment. This media is found in blogs, wikis, social networks, video- and image-sharing sites, location-based sites, forums, message boards, podcasts, social bookmarking sites, virtual game worlds, virtual communities, and other sites that are centered on user interaction.
Examples of these sites include but are not limited to the following:
- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+
- YouTube, Instagram, Vine, SnapChat, Openfilm, TubeMogul
- Wikipedia, Wikimedia
- Tumblr, Blogger, Vox, WordPress, Huffington Post
- Flickr, Photobucket
- Second Life, Active Worlds
- Delicious, StumbleUpon
- Digg, Reddit
- Askville, EHow, WikiAnswers, Yahoo! Answers
- Other similar emerging sites
General Recommendations for Persons Participating in Social Media
The keys to success in social media are being honest about who you are, being thoughtful before you post, and respecting the purpose of the community where you are posting.
Think before you post. There is no such thing as a “private” social media site. Search engines can turn up posts years after the publication date. Comments can be forwarded or copied. Archival systems save information even if you delete a post. If you feel angry or passionate about a subject, it is wise to delay posting until you are calm and clear-headed.
Be transparent. Be honest about your identity. If you are authorized by your supervisor to represent McNeese in social media, say so. If you choose to post about McNeese on your personal time, please identify yourself as a McNeese faculty or staff member. Never hide your identity for the purpose of promoting McNeese through social media.
In December 2009, the Federal Trade Commission implemented regulations requiring bloggers and those who write online reviews to reveal if they have been compensated in any way—a free copy of a book, dinner, complementary admission—or have a relationship to a company, product or service they review. Already a “best practice” for most bloggers, such disclosure is now being enforced.
A good resource about transparency in online communities is SocialMedia.org’s Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit, found at www.socialmedia.org/disclosure/.
Be accurate. Make sure that you have all the facts before you post. It is better to verify information with a source first than to have to post a correction or retraction later. Cite and link to your sources whenever possible; after all, that is how you build community.
If you make an error, correct it quickly and visibly. This will earn you respect in the online community.
Be respectful. You are more likely to achieve your goals or sway others to your beliefs if you are constructive and respectful while discussing a bad experience or disagreeing with a concept or person.
Be a valued member. If you join a social network like a Facebook group or comment on someone’s blog, make sure you are contributing valuable insights. Do not post information about topics like McNeese events or a book you have authored unless you are sure it will be of interest to readers. Self-promoting behavior is viewed negatively and can lead to you being banned from websites or groups.
Consider your audiences. Social media often span traditional boundaries between professional and personal relationships. Use privacy settings to restrict personal information on otherwise public sites. Choose profile photos and avatars carefully. Be thoughtful about the type of photos you upload.
Maintain confidentiality. Do not post confidential or proprietary information about McNeese, its students, its alumni, or your fellow employees. Use good ethical judgment and follow University policies.
If you discuss a situation involving individuals on a social media site, be sure that they cannot be identified. As a guideline, do not post anything that you would not present at a conference.
This policy is distributed via the Academic Advisory Council, Senior Staff, and the University Policies webpage.