The growth of the internet has brought to the fore a powerful new medium of communication. While it is often a valuable resource to many members of the Trinity University community, it also must be used and managed responsibly by the University community so that the mission of the institution may be best fulfilled.
The Communications Policy establishes guidelines for the use of the Internet and social media with two purposes in mind: to ensure free, fair access to and responsible use of the internet by the University community, and to establish an "official" University presence on the internet through a consistent, clearly identifiable set of internet pages administered by the Office of University Communications.
The Communications Policy applies to the Trinity University community (hereafter, the University community). The University community includes faculty and staff members, students, alumni, guests, and contractors.
Official Trinity University-Led Social Media Presence
Social media includes a variety of online tools and services that allow users to publish content and interact with their audiences. Currently, the most common social networks or Internet sites within this rapidly changing media space include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs.
Through its institutional social media presence, the University communicates directly with and receives instant feedback from online communities that include students, faculty, staff, alumni, prospective students, families, fans and others. Official Trinity University social media channels include:
The University's official presence on the internet is via the Trinity University website, which is administered by the Office of University Marketing & Communications. Only this official website and the official University print publications listed in Chapter 9B: Other Handbooks, Bulletins, and Publications of the Faculty and Contract Staff Handbook are permitted to display facsimiles of the registered University seal or the University logo; exceptions require permission of the Office of University Marketing & Communications.
Upon request, direct links will be provided from the official University webpages to Internet pages maintained independently by individual departments and University offices listed in the University Administrative Structure Chart in the Faculty and Contract Staff Handbook, and sponsored student organizations as defined in the Student Handbook. Direct links to websites maintained independently by individual faculty members, recognized student organizations, or other individuals or groups may be provided at the discretion of the Office of University Marketing & Communications.
The University has charged Information Technology Services with managing its domain name assets. All domain names purchased with University funds must be recorded, and names within the trinity.edu domain or non-trinity.edu names whose domain name is served by Trinity domain name servers must be registered with the University through Information Technology Services.
Student Organization Social Media Presence
Students who run social media for an organization officially recognized by the University, are responsible for following all normal expectations for professional behavior as representatives of the University. Social media postings, including comments and responses, can be stored by and shared with millions around the world. The Information and Technology Responsible Use Policy and Copyright Policy should also be followed. Additionally, policies in the student handbook (especially regarding academic honesty and student code of conduct) must also be adhered.
Students who run social media or are considering establishing social media for an organization officially recognized by the University must make a formal request through their organization’s adviser to the Office of Digital Communications. The Office of Digital Communications will then provide advice, support, and promotion, as appropriate. The office can help you to establish your goals, build a social media plan, learn about do’s and don’ts, select the appropriate social media tool to support your goals, promote your site, and otherwise navigate through the process of establishing and maintaining a social media presence.
Students are encouraged to think carefully about the content posted and urged to double check everything, with special attention to accuracy, spelling, and grammar. Students should think twice about the value of the content and consider whether or not it may potentially malign or polarize any person or group. Students should be respectful in posts and responses. Good sportsmanship should be advocated; rivals should not be maligned. The “golden rule” of “treating others as you would like to be treated” should be followed.
Students Who Maintain Personal Media Sites
The Information and Technology Responsible Use Policy and Copyright Policy should guide interaction in personal social media. Additionally, policies in the student handbook (especially regarding academic honesty and student code of conduct) should also be consulted and must be adhered.
Faculty/Staff Social Media Presence
Faculty and/or staff members who manage social media as representatives of Trinity University are responsible for following all normal expectations for professional behavior as representatives of the University. Social media postings, including comments and responses, can be stored by and shared with millions around the world. These guidelines are intended to help Trinity University faculty and staff who create and manage social media presences as University representatives, either as individual professionals or on behalf of their academic or administrative departments.
Social media are constantly changing and evolving. As a result, these guidelines may be updated frequently. Trinity University faculty and staff who would like to establish a social media site representing Trinity University must make a formal request through the Office of Digital Communications through their department chair or manager. The Office of Digital Communications will provide advice, support, and promotion, as appropriate. The office can help a program to establish goals, build a social media plan, learn about do's and don'ts, select the appropriate social media tool to support goals, promote the site, and otherwise navigate through the process of establishing and maintaining a social media presence. The following issues should be considered:
Personal Social Media Presence
If you maintain a personal blog or presence on another social media site but there is no indication that you represent Trinity University either by text or photos, you need not consult with the Office of University Marketing & Communications or be concerned with these guidelines.
If, however, your social media presence is representing your Trinity University department, group, organization, or activity, you are also representing your own professional reputation and the University. Even on your personal site, if you indicate that you are a Trinity University faculty or staff member, visitors to the site may perceive that you are speaking for your department or the University. If you are in some way invoking your professional affiliation with Trinity University, it may be hard to contend that this is not the case if you are not explicit about that fact. If you discuss professional issues on your personal social media site, it is suggested that you include a sentence similar to this: "The views expressed on this [blog, site] are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Trinity University."
Social Media - Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.
To ensure adherence to the Communications Policy, Trinity University reserves the right to monitor the internet and social media.
University Marketing & Communications, as a policy on Trinity's official social media sites, removes any comments that contain profanity, defamation, or sell merchandise or services that are not official University business. This policy is incorporated into the profile of the University's official social media sites managed by University Marketing & Communications.
When acting as an official Trinity representative or when using the Internet for personal use, please alert University Marketing & Communications when misrepresentations are found that are made about Trinity University in the media, by reporters, bloggers, or individuals. This will allow for Trinity University to provide accurate information.