Social Media Guidelines and Procedures

The goal of MVCC’s use of social media is to foster an online community for various MVCC constituents, reflecting the mission, vision, and values of the institution. Although these sites are outside the direct control of the institution, MVCC maintains an interest in how it is portrayed by them. Social media should be used to enhance communications, providing value to the College’s target audiences.

These guidelines do not apply to an individual’s private use of social media on private resources. Instead, they establish standards for employees and students who create, administer, or post to social media pages on behalf of MVCC and the use of public resources. They should be seen as supplementing, and not in lieu of, existing Board policies and regulations, official public stewardship responsibilities, technology resource standards, marketing and communications guidelines, and other applicable laws and administrative standards. It is important to remember and respect the privacy of others when using social media in the context of the educational setting. When posting photographs, videos, quotes or recorded statements of individuals on MVCC social media pages, forms that authorize MVCC may be required for their use; for instance, when interviewing or photographing an individual for a story that will be posted online. This does not apply to public areas or spaces without a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Nothing contained in these guidelines shall be construed as denying the civil and political liberties of any person as guaranteed by the United States Constitution, nor does it seek to impede upon the tenants of academic freedom that are extended to faculty.

Definition

Social media can be defined as media based on the use of web and mobile technologies that allow for user-generated exchanges of information. Social media are powerful communication tools, enabling collaboration and communication as an interactive dialogue, enhancing the value of conversations across a global audience. Social media includes, but is not limited to, social networking sites, collaborative projects such as wikis, blogs and micro-blogs, content communities, virtual game worlds, and virtual communities.

Institutional Social Media 

Institutional Social Media includes various sites, pages, profiles, projects, and virtual communities that are created specifically on behalf of MVCC, and that exist to serve as official MVCC communications. Creation and use of social media accounts on behalf of MVCC is for business use, such as for educational, research, service, operational, marketing, and management purposes. Likewise, data, voice, images, videos and links posted or transmitted via MVCC’s technology resources are limited to the same purposes.

Authorization to create and administer social media sites on behalf of MVCC must be coordinated through the Marketing and Communications Office. Before you start, send an email with the following information to the Marketing and Communications staff member who coordinates projects for your department. If you don’t know who your Marketing Project Manager is, you can find out here. If having a social media profile makes sense for your department or office, Marketing will work with you to create a page that is branded consistently with MVCC’s social community.

  • The purpose of the profile. What are the goals of having a social media page or profile for your department or organization?
  • Who will be responsible for updating the page?
  • A rough outline of what content you will post throughout the year. Having a basic plan for what you will post to your page for the next three months, six months and year will be helpful in making sure you have enough content to maintain a profile.

Guidelines

  • Remember the mission of MVCC: Any official MVCC social media profile must provide a link to the official MVCC website. You don’t have to link to the homepage. For example, CCED may link to the CCED subpage on the site. Links can be placed on the Info section of the page profile.
  • Disclaimer: Every social media site must make an effort to display or link to the following disclaimer (or some version of it) in a conspicuous manner: The statements, comments, or opinions expressed by users through use of MVCC’s social media platforms are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views of MVCC.
  • MVCC identity: Use of any MVCC logos, marks or likeness on personal social media sites is forbidden. Social media sites established for conducting MVCC business must adhere to established brand identity standards.
  • Add a Marketing Admin: The Marketing & Communications Office should be given access to all MVCC social media accounts to ensure backup in case of absence or employee turnover.
  • Post smart: As a representative of MVCC, you have more responsibility than the average user about what you post on social networks. Realize that there are real-world consequences for things that you communicate online, just as there are real-world consequences for how you conduct yourself on the job. Also, familiarize yourself with Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). For information on this, email Kate Barefoot at kbarefoot@mvcc.edu.
  • Post frequently: If your page isn’t active, followers won’t have a reason to return. Pages should be updated at least once per month. Some pages will be updated more often, perhaps several times a day. If your page doesn’t have enough content to post at least one update a month, consider posting to the main MVCC profile instead of having a separate one. Inactive sites will not be supported by the College and will be deactivated.
  • Exercise good judgment: You are communicating with many people who all have varied opinions. Think twice about everything you post.
  • Consider accessibility: Remember that not all students have the same abilities. Facebook has an Accessibility and Assistive Technology page that outlines its resources. If you have specific questions about your page and accessibility, email Tamara Mariotti in Disabilities Services at tmariotti@mvcc.edu.
  • Respect copyrights: Always give people proper credit for their work, and make sure you have the right to use something before you share it. Never post copyrighted photos, music, text or video content without permission of the copyright owner.
  • Consider College policies: Refer to the Board of Trustees policies, Information Technology Policy, Student Handbook Code of Conduct, and on the Office of Human Resources for policies that cover social media usage.
  • Respect privacy: Social media sites have varying levels of privacy settings and terms of agreement. Those posting on behalf of MVCC must be aware of the social media site’s privacy policy, terms of use and community guidelines. Be aware that no social media privacy option completely protects information being shared beyond desired boundaries.

Guidelines for Employees

Employees should remember that students and the community might judge them and MVCC by their posts. Employees should be honest and transparent about their identity and role at MVCC. Maintain accuracy by verifying facts before posting information via social media. Exercise restraint and show respect for the opinions of others. Do not use MVCC-related social media to promote services, products or organizations that are unrelated to MVCC or its business. Use good judgment in connecting with others via social media sites.

Employees will keep their personal social media sites separate from MVCC social media. In personal posts, employees may identify themselves as an MVCC faculty or staff member. MVCC telephone numbers, email addresses, and images are not to be posted by employees on personal social media sites. Employees need to be clear that they are sharing their views as a member of the higher education community, not as a formal representative of MVCC or its member institutions.

Employees are prohibited from using the MVCC name or image to endorse an opinion, product, cause, business, or political candidate or otherwise holding themselves out as a representative of the College when they are not. When expressing a personal opinion, employees must acknowledge that, especially if the statement could be reasonably interpreted by the message receiver, that they are speaking on behalf of the College. Employees can use the following statement to help dissociate your opinions from those of the College: “The views expressed herein are my personal opinions and are not necessarily those of Mohawk Valley Community College.”

Media Contacts

If someone from the media or press contacts users about posts made in online forums that relate to the College in any way, users must alert their supervisor and contact the Office of Marketing and Communications before responding.

Guidelines for Students

Students must understand that any content made public via MVCC social media sites is expected to follow acceptable social behaviors and comply with the law, Student Handbook, the Student Code of Conduct and Commitment to Civility, Information Technology Policy, and other MVCC policies and procedures.

A student who feels that he/she has been treated unfairly or unjustly by a fellow student or faculty member (full-time or part-time) with regard to communications conducted via MVCC social media sites should contact the Office of Judicial Affairs and Community Standards.

Social Media Activity

All activity on MVCC's social media is governed by other college policies, including, but not limited to FERPA, HIPAA, Title IX, anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. These College policies also govern staff, faculty and students who participate as members of the MVCC community on sites not managed by the College. Simply put, the College’s policies should not be violated in any form, which includes external social media platforms. If a student employee is assisting with an MVCC-affiliated social media platform, the student must be aware of and follow the College’s policies.

Inappropriate Content

The malicious use of MVCC social media, including derogatory language about any member of the MVCC community; threats to any third party; incriminating photos or statements depicting hazing, sexual harassment, vandalism, stalking, underage drinking, illegal drug use, or any other inappropriate behavior, will be subject to disciplinary action.

The following list includes, but is not limited to, inappropriate content posting to social media sites:

  • Conducting MVCC business using social media sites that are not authorized as an official means of communication per marketing standards and processes.
  • Posting confidential or propriety information about MVCC students, alumni and employees that is in violation of MVCC policies or FERPA.
  • Violating any provision of MVCC’s Information Technology Policy.
  • Violating any provision of the Student Code of Conduct and Commitment to Civility.
  • Posting comments to MVCC-authorized social media sites that are not directly related to MVCC business or accomplishing work-related goals.
  • Posting any text, images or links to content that violate copyright law.
  • Violating MVCC’s Harassment Policy.
  • SPAM comments. All platforms that enable comments should be reviewed regularly for SPAM, removing SPAM comments as quickly as possible.
  • Violating the terms of use, conditions or community guidelines as defined by each social media platform.

Enforcement

Complaints or allegations of a violation of these standards will be processed through MVCC’s articulated grievance procedures, Student Code of Conduct and Commitment to Civility or resolution of controversy.

Upon determination of a violation of these standards, MVCC may unilaterally delete any violating content, and terminate the user's access. It is the user's responsibility to demonstrate and/or establish the relevance of content in the event that a content complaint is made official.