7,013: Policy for the Creation and Management of University Social Media Sites

Revised: February 2020

Purpose

Championing and protecting the University of Nevada, Reno’s brand is a team effort. Colleges, Schools and Divisions representing the University, as well as the Departments or Units within each, are all considered stewards of the brand.

The University recognizes the value of social media platforms for a range of goals and shall balance the support of social media with the preservation of the University’s brand identity, integrity and reputation. In order to ensure each social media account and site meets these stated goals, the University has established this policy for the use, creation, and management of University-branded, owned or operated social media accounts and sites.

Scope of Policy

This policy governs the creation, use and management of official University Social Media Sites: Social media accounts or sites on any social media platform used in support of the function or needs of a University College, School or Division, as well as the Departments or Units within each of them.

This policy applies to all faculty, staff, College, School, Division, Department, Unit, and University-affiliated organizations who create, manage or administer University branded, owned or operated social media sites or accounts related to a College, School or Division, as well as the Departments or Units within each of them, including official ASUN and GSA social media accounts.

The policy does not apply to social media accounts of student groups recognized by ASUN or GSA or student publications and radio, including Nevada Sagebrush, Brushfire, Wolf Pack Radio and Insight. This policy also does not apply to social media accounts of individual students, faculty or staff. However, the student groups and publications, and the individual faculty and staff members using the social media accounts for academic or research purposes are advised to include a disclaimer on these social media accounts stating that the accounts are not University accounts. Sample disclaimers are:

  • Opinions are my/our own.
  • Thoughts are my/our own.
  • Content and information does not reflect the opinions or views of the University and are not endorsed by the University.

This policy shall apply only to social media accounts created for the express purpose of conducting University business or representing University Colleges, Schools or Divisions, as well as the Departments and Units within them.

Exceptions to the policy requirements concerning branding/logos and advertisements of commercial partners may be granted after consultation with the University’s Office of Marketing and Communications MarCom) and the General Counsel’s Office.

Compliance with this policy includes registering each University Social Media Site with MarCom. This is necessary for inclusion on unr.edu and for recognition by the University. University Social Media Sites that are not registered with MarCom cannot use the University’s name, color, logos or branding. To register social media accounts with the University, visit unr.edu/social-media.    

The Director of Communications for the Office of Marketing & Communications is responsible for the enforcement of this policy and can be a resource to the University community in creating, administering and using social media. 

University Social Media Sites

Use of University Social Media Sites shall be conducted in a manner that is professional, protects the reputation and brand of the University of Nevada, Reno and is in compliance with University policies.

Posting on behalf of the University, a College, School, or Division, as well as Department or Unit within them, is not a right and it can be rescinded at any time. 

The University is not responsible for content shared or generated by non-University social media accounts administered by groups or individuals not affiliated with the University. Each officially recognized University Social Media Site shall include the University’s Social Media Disclaimer Statement, available at unr.edu/social-media/guidelines, regarding content and opinions contained on the site. 

Procedures

  1. Creation of University Social Media Site

Existing and new University Social Media Site shall be registered with and approved by MarCom. Each University College, School or Division, as well as the Departments and Units within them, that wants to create or use a University Social Media Site shall have a Social Media Leadership Team Representative. The Social Media Leadership Team Representative shall be the first point of contact for a request to create a University Social Media Site. The Social Media Leadership Team Representative shall review, assess and approve the request and then submit it to MarCom for final approval. A list of Social Media Leadership Team representatives can be found at unr.edu/social-media/SMLT.

Upon the Social Media Leadership Team Representative receiving written final approval from MarCom, the Social Media Leadership Team Representative shall meet with the Account Administrator to discuss social media policies at the University as well as strategy, goals, messaging and best practices. The Social Media Leadership Team Representative shall also be made an administrator of the University’s Social Media Site.

Each University Social Media Site should have no less than three (3) full-time Account Administrators, including the Social Media Leadership Team Representative for that College, School or Division, to ensure that the University Social Media Site is consistently and appropriately managed. Passwords and logins shall be known and maintained by Account Administrators as well as their Social Media Leadership Team Representative. For password security resources and guidance visit https://oit.unr.edu/

When the status of an individual with access to a University Social Media Site changes (i.e., role change, transfer, or separation from the University), the individual is required to surrender that access, including any password or login to either the Social Media Leadership Team representative or MarCom. Passwords should also be changed by the remaining administrators on the account. A University Social Media Site shall not be deleted or closed without prior written approval from MarCom. This is to ensure that the University and Account Administrators are in compliance with NSHE Record Retention and Disposition Policy.

  1. Personal Social Media Accounts Used for University Business

Employees who use personal social media accounts in the employee’s capacity as a University employee or administrator do not need to add administrators to the account or share passwords or logins with the University. However, an employee who uses personal social media accounts in the employee’s capacity as a University employee or administrator are advised that these personal social media accounts may be subject to the Nevada Public Records Act as found in Chapter 239 of the Nevada Revised Statutes.

  1. Administration and Use of University Social Media Sites for College, School or Division, as well as the Departments and Units within them:

Effective with the adoption of this policy, all content on University Social Media Sites shall comply with the University and NSHE policies and all state and federal laws, including the following: 

  • Branding. All University Social Media Sites shall comply with any approved applicable University branding standards. University Social Media Sites shall not use the University-brand or name to advertise for commercial partners or engage in any political activity or express political opinions. Exceptions shall be granted for Intercollegiate Athletics and ASUN/GSA after consultation with MarCom. For additional information regarding branding and logos, see UAM 4,715.
  • Electronic Accessibility. All University Social Media Sites shall comply with UAM 7,007 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Accessibility Policy to ensure that the social media content and information is accessible.
  • Computing and Network Use Policies. All University Social Media Sites shall comply with the Computing and Network Use Policies found at https://oit.unr.edu/about-oit/policies.
  • Intellectual Property and Copyright. All University Social Media Sites shall respect intellectual property rights, federal copyright law and University intellectual property policies.
  • UAM 7,009 Social Media Policy. Posts that constitute libel, spam, political endorsement, copyright or trademark infringement, speech that promotes or threatens acts of violence, defamation, obscenity, discrimination, harassment, unlawful stalking or harassing of others, or advertisements for commercial partners are prohibited.

After consultation with MarCom, exceptions have been granted to Intercollegiate Athletics for advertisements of commercial partners, and to ASUN/GSA for political endorsements.

Account Administrators shall request authorization to hide or delete any material in violation of this policy or UAM 7,009, or to block a user from a site pursuant to UAM 7,009, from MarCom who will consult with the Office of the General Counsel.

  • UAM 61 and 62 Records Retention and Disposition Schedule and Guidelines. The University must adhere to the NSHE records retention schedule for retention, disposal and appropriate transfer of records and must maintain its records in a manner which is secure, cost effective, and which allows for the rapid retrieval and protection of the information contained within the record. University Social Media Sites fall under these policies and guidelines.
  • Confidential or Personnel Information Protected by Law. University Social Media Sites shall not contain confidential personnel information as that term is defined by NSHE, or other confidential information as defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Regulations, as applicable.

Any sensitive personal or personnel information or other confidential information posted on an Official University Social Media Site shall be removed by the Account Administrator as soon as practically possible upon discovery.

  • Employee Use. When using social media as a part of official duties, and/or when presenting oneself in social media settings as a University representative, employees shall comply with applicable University policies governing employee behavior and acceptable use of electronic and information resources. Representing personal opinions as University-endorsed views or policies is prohibited. Account Administrators are responsible for managing and monitoring the University Social Media Site for their College, School or Division, as well as Departments and Units within them. Regular review of the University Social Media Site for compliance with NSHE and University policies and all state and federal laws shall be performed and failure to do so is not justification for noncompliance.
  • University best practices and guidelines: MarCom has a variety of best practices and guidelines listed on its website: https://www.unr.edu/marcom

Definitions

Colleges and Schools: There are 12 colleges and schools at the University of Nevada, Reno. They are: College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources; College of Business; College of Education; College of Engineering; College of Liberal Arts; College of Science; Orvis School of Nursing; School of Community Health Sciences; Reynolds School of Journalism; University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine; School of Social Work; The Graduate School; The Mackay School of Earth Sciences & Engineering, which is part of the College of Science, is also included.

Departments and Units: Departments, academic programs and administrative units are included in this policy, often maintained under each College, School or Division. Examples include Athletics’ Teams, Counseling Services, Math Center, General Counsel’s Office, Joe Crowley Student Union, Human Resources, the Office of Marketing & Communications, and the Writing Center. 

Division: For the purpose of this policy, Division refers to University Administration and Finance; University Athletics; Development and Alumni Relations; Extended Studies; University Libraries; The Office of the President; the Office of the Provost; University Research and Innovation and the Division of Student Services.

Account Administrator: A University faculty member, staff member or student who creates, manages, administers, monitors, authors or contributes to one or more University Social Media Sites. 

Social Media: An Internet website, application, or platform external to the University used to communicate and share information between people through interactions with video, audio, text or multimedia. Examples include, but are not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, WordPress and other similar services.  

University Social Media Site: A social media account or site on any social media platform used in support of the function or needs of a University College, School, Unit or Division.  

Social Media Leadership Team: The group responsible for the strategic implementation of social media communications at the University of Nevada, Reno. The team is managed by the University’s Office of Marketing & Communications, and is comprised of delegates from each College, School, Unit and Division. All official University social properties should maintain regular contact with their coordinating representative for direction and oversight. Members of the SMLT shall be a full-time University employee.

Social Media Leadership Team Representative:  A University staff member charged with communications oversight of University social media pages within their College, School, Unit or Division. 

University Branding Guidelines:  Carefully considered design elements that make up a visual language representing the University in print, video and web communication. It encompasses everything from the Block N and Athletics logos to typefaces, photographic style and more.