Social Media Policy

Purpose
One of the many important ways Agnes Scott College can advance our mission—to educate women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times—is through the smart use of social media.

Today’s emerging communications technologies afford us unprecedented opportunities to learn about what is going on in the world, share our ideas on important issues, and promote our events and accomplishments. Along with these opportunities comes a responsibility to engage social media in ways that not only support our institutional values but also enhance and protect our institutional brand.

This policy applies to anyone (faculty, staff and students) who participates in social media on behalf of Agnes Scott College on college-affiliated social media sites. Misuse of social media accounts or sites that are not college-affiliated is governed by other college policies. Individuals who participate in college-affiliated sites are responsible for understanding and following these guidelines. The college respects your use of social media, however this use can greatly impact you, your colleagues and our students. Therefore, the college encourages you to use social media responsibly to maintain the integrity of the institution.

Policies for Social Media
Creating a Social Media Account
To create an Agnes Scott College social media account, contact the Office of Communications and Marketing and provide them with the following information:
  • name of the unit or individual making the request
  • social media platform(s) you want to use (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  • purpose for creating the account
  • name and contact information of the account administrator (a faculty or staff member, ideally the head of the department) who will be responsible for the account.
The Office of Communications and Marketing will use this information to ensure duplicate accounts are not created and that all pages associated with the college are similarly branded and consistently maintained. This includes following the guidelines for naming your account and using institutional logos and graphics.

All social media pages created for Agnes Scott College are the property of the college and should not be deleted or altered without first contacting the Office of Communications and Marketing.

Social Media Platforms
Social media platforms include, but are not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Tumblr, Pinterest, blogs and chat rooms. At Agnes Scott, these platforms can be created and maintained by official college entities (division, department and program pages), student organizations (organization pages), and faculty, staff and administrators (public figure pages).

Social Media Branding
Agnes Scott-affiliated social media pages must reflect the college’s image distinctively and consistently. They should list the college’s name first, for example, Agnes Scott Athletics (social media account’s name) and @AgnesScottAthletics (social media account’s handle). Social media accounts should include the college’s official sub-brand log, other institutional graphics and images that comply with our visual identity policy.                                                                                                      

Social Media Activity
All activity on Agnes Scott social media is governed by other college policies, including, but not limited, to copyright, confidential and proprietary information, FERPA, HIPAA, Title IX, acceptable use of electronic resources, and anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies. These college policies also govern staff, faculty and students who participate as members of the Agnes Scott community on sites not managed by the college. Simply put, the college’s policies should not be violated in any forum, which includes online forums like social media. All members of the Agnes Scott community are responsible for staying informed and updated about these policies by periodically reviewing them in the Employee Handbook and Faculty Handbook. If a student employee is assisting with an Agnes Scott-affiliated social media platform, the student must be aware of and follow the college’s policies.

The college is committed to academic freedom as stated in the Faculty Handbook (see Policy Statement on Academic Freedom and Responsibility) and any violation of this policy will be evaluated consistently with the college's policy on academic freedom.

Take care not to position yourself as speaking on behalf of the college, and do not use official Agnes Scott-affiliated social media accounts to endorse products, services, beliefs or individuals. On your personal social media sites, you may not use Agnes Scott logos or images or the college’s name to promote or endorse any product, cause or political party or candidate.

Share Appropriate Content
The content you share on an Agnes Scott-affiliated social media platform should support the purpose for the site—in other words, be appropriate and relevant to its educational goals and interests, as well as the mission of the college. All content you post (language and graphics) should be suitable for the general public.

Do not share confidential or proprietary information about Agnes Scott and/or its students, faculty, staff and alumnae. This includes, but is not limited to, financial, recruitment, student conduct and/or human resources data; internal strategies, reports and conversations; personal contact information, as well as college news and announcements that are managed by the Office of Communications and Marketing.

Cease Activity During Crisis
In case of a crisis or emergency, immediately cease all activity on Agnes Scott-affiliated social media platforms. The Office of Communications and Marketing will identify the message and distribution strategy for Agnes Scott’s social media sites and inform account administrators when and how to resume social media communications.
 
Violation of the Social Media Policy
Agnes Scott College’s existing disciplinary processes will apply in the event of a violation.

Agnes Scott College prohibits taking negative action against any staff member, faculty or student for reporting a possible deviation from this policy or for cooperating in an investigation. Any staff member, faculty or student who retaliates against another staff member, faculty or student for reporting a possible deviation from this policy or for cooperating in an investigation will be subject to disciplinary action. 

For more information about the Agnes Scott College Social Media Policy, contact info@agnesscott.edu.

Guidelines for Social Media
As a member of the Agnes Scott community, your social media interactions reflect on you as well as the college. Here are some suggested rules to remember to help navigate social media spaces with the high level of professionalism and ethics befitting you and the college.

Demonstrate Integrity
Whether you are sharing information, advancing an idea or responding to someone’s comment or question, communicate with integrity. Be transparent and allow others to gain some insight into the person behind the post by clearly indicating your role at Agnes Scott—student, faculty or staff—and the department or organization you are affiliated with.

When you publish on a social media site that is not sponsored by the college, but the content relates to the college, keep in mind that others may still see you as the “voice” of Agnes Scott College. Make it clear that you are speaking for yourself by using a disclaimer, such as: “The postings on this site reflect my personal opinions and not those of Agnes Scott College.”

If you have a work-related complaint, it is encouraged that you resolve the issue by speaking directly with your co-worker, supervisor or the Office of Human Resources. Guard against using statements, photographs, video or audio that reasonably could be viewed as malicious, obscene, threatening or intimidating, that disparages any member of the college community, or that might constitute harassment, bullying or accusation.  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 college policy. (Source: National Labor Relations Board)

Avoid posting detailed policy or procedural information, such as admission guidelines or program requirements. Instead, post links to that information on the college’s official website for those topics. This decreases discrepancies in the information being distributed and minimizes the need to update changes on multiple platforms.

If you are posting information about a controversial topic or research study, include disclaimers and package the information so the post cannot be shared without them. Also, do not use intellectual materials or content produced and legally owned by others without express written consent. Any photos, graphics and written content produced and owned by others must be credited appropriately.

Commit to Accuracy
While social media makes it easier to share our ideas, it should never be used to spread false or misleading information. Check and double-check your facts before you post, and cite a verifiable source for data, information and points of view that are likely to be controversial.

If you create a social media site, you are responsible for monitoring and updating it regularly to ensure it contains the latest, most accurate information. This includes acknowledging mistakes and correcting errors as soon as possible, as well as warning and, if necessary, blocking users who violate the college’s social media policy.

Ultimately, effective online communication depends on effective writing. Be sure to follow the standards of good writing: Articulate a clear bottom line message; use concise, precise language; and adhere to the grammar, spelling and punctuation rules and conventions that apply to your social media platforms.

Show Respect
To ensure an informative and engaging social media environment, encourage others to post on your sites. Respond promptly and appropriately to their questions and comments with fairness, good taste and decorum. Be open to others’ ideas and respect their right to express differing views. Refrain from posting or reposting profanity and offensive, derogatory or obscene words and/or phrases as well as images.

If someone makes negative comments or complaints on your sites directed at the college, often the best strategy is to not engage them. Often, other posters will comment and diffuse the situation. However, if a poster’s comments are blatantly harmful or incorrect, exercise good judgment in responding. Never be defensive or explanatory. If possible, move the conversation off social media. Send the person a private message to let them know who the appropriate individual or office is on campus to contact about the issue.

 
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Path and Filename: W:\Compsvcs\Policy-Procedure\Social Media
Policy Clarification or Modification:  Direct to the Associate Vice President for Technology
Approved:  Cabinet:  October 2017
Revised Date: