EWU 203-04: University Social Media

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University Operations – Information Services

EWU Policy 203-04 Authority: EWU Board of Trustees
Effective: June 22, 2023 Proponent: Vice President for Advancement

Purpose:  This policy prescribes university standards for creating and maintaining social media venues related to the administrative, operational, or instructional activities of Eastern Washington University. It includes standards and guidelines for communicating or otherwise participating in EWU social media venues.

History:  This policy was originally adopted on May 19, 2011. The Board of Trustees approved revisions to the policy on June 22, 2023.

Applicability:  This policy pertains to all social media venues used by the university for official university purposes. This policy does not apply to employees’ individual social media profiles or use of social media in their individual capacities acting outside the scope of their employment.

Chapter 1 – General

1-1. General

Eastern Washington University encourages the responsible use of social media to support its objectives, goals, operations, instruction and sanctioned business endeavors to include professional networking, distribution of University news, and other information sharing.

Eastern uses social media to support engaged and transformative learning and to foster positive and enriching interaction with the University community and the general public within the scope of the University’s mission.

The policy provides rules and guidelines designed to encourage the use of social media as a business tool while ensuring that any interactions on behalf of EWU are conducted consistent with applicable laws and represent the best interests of the University and its members.

University departments should contact the Division of University Relations (Marketing & Communications) for assistance in creating and monitoring university social media sites. Marketing & Communications provides guidance on the appropriate use of social media and EWU’s brand and trademarks at www.ewu.edu/social-media.

If a department creates a social media site, the employee posting on behalf of the department must have approval to post on behalf of the university in accordance with EWU Policy 201-03 (External Communications). An employee also must be assigned to monitor the account. The department should clearly identify itself on the site and the purpose of the site. Only those employees who are authorized by their supervisor to post on behalf of the university may post pictures, comments, videos or other materials on behalf of the university.

1-2. Office of Marketing and Communications

Marketing and Communications (MARCOM) has overall responsibility for the University web presence. MARCOM will:

  1. assist departments/units    with    social    media needs/issues as requested;
  2. provide training, as needed, related to social media and this policy;
  3. maintain a register of Affiliated Sites; and,
  4. advise university leaders on matters related to social media.

Chapter 2 – Social Media Sites / Venues

2-1. General

EWU social media sites must be created for the purpose of sharing information and creating dialogue about a particular topic. The site should clearly indicate the purpose of the site and indicate that posts that do not relate to the purpose of the forum may be deleted or blocked. For example, if a social media site is created regarding admissions to EWU, posts that are marketing solicitations unrelated to EWU may be deleted or blocked. In no case, however, should comments/posts that are relevant to the topic be deleted or blocked based on the viewpoint expressed. Departments may choose to set up a site that does not allow anyone other than the owner to post content to the site.

Additionally, EWU reserves the right to monitor all content posted to its social media sites and may remove or block content that constitutes:

a) Obscene material, as defined by state and federal law;

b) Libelous material, as defined by state law;

c) Incitement of imminent lawlessness;

d) True threats, as defined by federal law;

e) Fighting words, as defined by federal law; or,

f) Violations of copyright, trademark, patent, or trade secrets consistent with EWU Policy 203-02 (Copyright Infringement).

2-2. Procedures

Before blocking or deleting any comments or posts to an EWU social media site, the monitor must first check with Risk Management unless the person who posted the content is asking to have it blocked/and or deleted. Risk Management will coordinate with the Attorney General’s Office as needed to verify that the comment or post falls within the prohibitions set forth in this policy. If the poster is the person who requests that content be blocked or deleted, the site owner may grant such a request without checking with Risk Management but should keep the poster’s request in case any questions arise.