Social Media Policy

Introduction

UIW encourages the use of social media by University offices, faculty, and students to enhance our local, national and global reputation and our connection with current and future students, parents, alumni, donors, and other key constituencies. When used responsibly, social media sites provide an effective way to promote the University and to share information and perspective across a broad range of topics.

The purpose of this policy is to provide rules and procedures for the responsible use of UIW social media resources and platforms, as well as guidelines for personal use of social media.

Who can establish an official UIW social media account?

This policy applies to all University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) students and employees who use social media to create a UIW-sponsored or other social media site while representing UIW in an official capacity. Employees include faculty, staff and administrators, including those employed in an adjunct, part-time or temporary capacity.

The Office of Communications and Brand Marketing provides account approval and guidance on creating and maintaining UIW Social Media pages. Please see "Checklists" below for more information.

UIW approved social media platforms and their uses

The following is a list of social media platforms approved for official University use as well as links to learn more about each site.

Please note, inclusion on this list of approved platforms does not guarantee that your area will be granted approval to manage an account on each of the above listed platforms. The Office of Communications and Brand Marketing will work with University departments, schools and offices to help determine the best platforms to suit each area's specific social media needs.

Permission to maintain accounts on social media platforms not listed above will be reviewed on a case by case basis and must be approved by the Office of Communications and Brand Marketing. To request an additional social media site be added to UIW's approved list, please fill out the New Social Media Platform Approval Request Form.

Checklist: Setting up a social media account on behalf of a UIW department, office or college

The following is a list of steps that must be taken before official University accounts can be published.

  • Review social media platforms and their uses section of this policy to determine which platform best suits your area’s needs
  • Complete Social Media Account Approval Request Form
  • Upon approval:
    • Make sure at least two employees from your area will have access to each account
    • Make sure dedicated social media account managers have time to post on official UIW accounts at least three times per week
    • Register your social media account with the UIW Office of Communications and Brand Marketing via the Social Media Account Registration Form

Checklist: Setting up a social media account on behalf of a UIW student organization

The following is a list of steps that must be taken before official UIW student organization accounts can be published.

  • Review Social media platforms and their uses section to determine which platform best suits your area’s needs
  • Complete Social Media Account Approval Request Form
  • Upon approval:
    • Make sure at least two members from your organization will have access to each account
    • Make sure at least one returning member from your organization has access to the account every year
    • Share usernames, passwords and account access with student organization faculty and/or administrator advisers
    • Register your social media account with the UIW Office of Communications and Brand Marketing via the Social Media Account Registration Form

Guidelines for UIW-affiliated social media account use

Branding your social media pages

    • Student organizations may create a separate logo that reflects the club/organization’s mission and must follow Campus Life approval procedures.
    • Official UIW logos must not be edited, altered or modified in any way (includes color changes, proportion changes and additions to logo).
  • Profile Images
    • UIW department logos and/or approved student organization logos may be used for profile images
    • The University’s main logos, not specific to any department, office or school, should not be used as profile images except for @uiwcardinals accounts
    • Profile images on social media accounts acting on behalf of the University should not include images of individuals
  • Cover Images
    • Approved images/videos of campus buildings, locations and events may be used for social media cover images on UIW-approved accounts acting on behalf of the University

Content guidelines

UIW students or employees who manage or post to UIW-sponsored social media sites should:

  • Exercise good judgment. If you are unsure if you should post something, don’t post it.
  • Protect and enhance the value of UIW's Mission by refraining from posting comments, photos, videos or images that could be interpreted or perceived as slurs, demeaning to others, inflammatory, unduly suggestive, inappropriate or otherwise contrary to the University's Mission.
  • Protect confidential information and relationships. Do not post confidential, proprietary or controversial information about the University, its students, alumni or employees. Follow University policies and federal regulations, such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and protected health information (PHI).
  • Respect copyright and fair use laws by obtaining proper permissions and giving appropriate credit for work that you receive permission to use.
  • Stick to your area of expertise and provide unique, individual perspectives on non-confidential activities at UIW. If you have a vested interest in what you are discussing, be the first to say so; it adds to your credibility.
  • Use official UIW logos only as specified in the University style guide.
  • Consider the public nature and longevity of comments before posting.
  • Keep sites current by refreshing content regularly (minimum 3x/week), responding to questions in a timely manner, and updating information.

Copyrighted/Trademarked Materials
Content posted to University-sponsored social media sites must be original OR account administrators must have written permission to use the work of others.

  • Music used in videos must be royalty free, or the user must have written permission to use the copyrighted work (Ex: Do not use popular songs on the radio for social media videos).
  • Photos and designs may not be pulled from Google or other search engines. Social media administrators may use UIW’s Canto platform for images, or licensed images from databases such as Adobe Stock and Canva.
  • Videos may not be screen recorded from other social media accounts, Google, web sites, etc. and reposted, even if credit is attributed, without written permission from the original poster or content owner.

Communicating about sensitive issues
When representing the University on social media, keep in mind that any online activity is representative of UIW’s brand and must align with the institution’s Mission. Therefore, when communicating as a UIW-sponsored social media site and/or a representative of the University online, social media account managers must:

  • Refrain from engaging in political commentary or taking a political stance on any issues on UIW-sponsored social media sites
  • Refrain from posting content that may be perceived as affiliation with specific political parties, groups or activist organizations
  • Await guidance or messaging from the UIW Office of Communications and Brand Marketing via @uiwcardinals regarding current events surrounding security, legal issues, politics, civil unrest, etc.
  • Contact the UIW Office of Communications and Brand Marketing at pr@uiwtx.edu for assistance crafting appropriate messaging regarding sensitive issues

Communicating via direct message

All social media content guidelines above also apply to communicating with individuals via private or direct message. In addition:

  • Remember that direct messages are not private.
  • When communicating via direct message, remember you are still representing UIW’s brand. Be polite, courteous and helpful.
  • When appropriate, redirect individuals to communicate with the appropriate individual or area via official UIW email and/or UIW phone numbers.

Handling complaints and negative commentary

Receiving complaints and negative commentary online is inevitable. When appropriate, invite the individual to engage in a conversation via direct message. Collect the individual’s contact information. Notify the individual that you will forward their contact information to the appropriate office. The appropriate office will then contact the individual directly to work towards a resolution.

For assistance addressing complaints and negative commentary regarding sensitive issues, please contact the UIW Office of Communications and Brand Marketing.

Additional guidelines for UIW Athletics accounts

In addition to abiding by UIW’s Social Media Policy, UIW Athletics affiliated accounts (ex: team accounts) must adhere to the following:

  • No new accounts should be created without speaking with and receiving approval from the deputy athletic director.
  • Student-athletes should not have access to UIW Athletics social media accounts. Control of all accounts must remain with UIW Athletics employees.

Emergency Messaging on official University social media sites

All official UIW emergency messaging will be communicated via the main UIW Twitter page (@uiwcardinals) first. The same messaging will then be shared via the main UIW Facebook and Instagram pages.

Emergency messaging will be accompanied with an image distinguishing the tweet as an emergency message with a date and time stamp.

When emergency messaging is being distributed, all UIW affiliated social media pages must interrupt their regularly scheduled content and retweet/share UIW emergency messages.

UIW affiliated social media pages must not post any content on their social media platforms regarding the ongoing emergency other than content that is a direct retweet of the emergency message or content directing followers to UIW’s Twitter page.

  1. Example of Facebook emergency messaging post: “UIW Alert: Icy conditions continue in our area. To stay up-to-date on all the latest University emergency messaging, follow the University of the Incarnate Word on Twitter @uiwcardinals.”

Once the UIW Twitter page (@uiwcardinals) has indicated that the emergency is over, UIW affiliated pages may continue with their regularly scheduled content with respect to the sensitivity of the emergency that was just cleared. Exercise your best judgment on resuming regular content once an emergency has been cleared.

Social media checklist for leaving the University

Employees and students who have access to UIW-sponsored social media channels should complete the following prior to their last day:

  • Make sure another member of the team who is still employed or attending UIW has access to all accounts
  • Send any changes to passwords, usernames, or names of account managers to the UIW Office of Communications and Brand Marketing at vireyna1@uiwtx.edu.

Discipline for Violations

Any use of social media that threatens the safety of UIW constituencies, exhibits a lack of moral character, and/or is unlawful or a violation of University policy, may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination or being asked to leave the institution. The University investigates and responds to all reported concerns about social media use or content. Please be aware that you may be held responsible for any personal legal liability imposed for any published content.

The above rules and procedures will be enforced, violations investigated, and any necessary disciplinary action taken by the appropriate University office or department, dependent on the poster’s affiliation with UIW and the severity of the violation.  

Getting help

If you have any questions about UIW’s social media policy or need assistance with messaging, images or content, please contact Victoria Reyna, social media specialist in the Office of Communications and Brand Marketing, at vireyna1@uiwtx.edu.

To report a potential social media violation, please contact Victoria Reyna and Margaret Garcia, director of Communications and Brand Marketing at mlgarci2@uiwtx.edu.

Guidelines for the responsible use of social media in a personal capacity

The use of social media in a personal capacity refers to employees or students who use social media as part of their personal life. When using social media sites in a personal capacity, employees and students should:

  • Never post comments, photos, videos or images that could be interpreted or perceived as slurs, demeaning, inflammatory, unduly suggestive, inappropriate or otherwise contrary to the University's Mission.
  • Maintain clear lines between professional and personal social media activities.
  • Refrain from using the University’s name to promote or endorse any product, cause, religious view, political party, candidate, etc.
  • Protect confidential information and relationships. Do not post confidential, proprietary or controversial information about the University, its students, alumni or employees. Follow university policies and federal regulations, such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and protected health information (PHI).
  • Respect copyright and fair use laws by obtaining proper permissions and giving appropriate credit for work.
  • Remember that libel laws are in effect even when your social media accounts are set to “private.”
  • Understand that each social media platform has its own policies, guidelines and rules.
  • Remember that displaying behavior that violates federal and/or state law may have serious consequences that could affect your future. 
  • Never post content such as images or medical records that represent a breach of confidentiality.
  • Maintain appropriate boundaries. (For example, health professionals should not “friend” patients on their personal sites.)
  • Be advised that personal information can be used to perpetrate identity theft which can compromise the security of students, employees, and the institution.
  • When in doubt, don’t post.

The above guidelines will be enforced, violations investigated, and any necessary disciplinary action taken by the appropriate University office or department, dependent on the poster’s affiliation with UIW and the severity of the violation.