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I. Title of Policy
Social Media Policy and Guidelines
II. Objective of Policy
The purpose of this Policy is to communicate the Brookdale Community College’s (“College”) policies and guidelines regarding the use of social media sites and establish processes for authorization and use of social media sites by College students, employees, departments and offices and individuals and entities that have pages/groups on Facebook and other social media platforms.
U.S. Const. amend I; Article I Section 6 New Jersey Constitution 1947; Board of Trustees Bylaw 1.2050.
IV. Policy Statement
Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as blogs, have become an integral part of everyday life for hundreds of millions of people around the world. As a result, social media has become an increasingly important aspect of the College’s interaction and the College’s transparency with the public, its students, employees and College community. This Policy is meant to provide clear and concise guidelines for the use of social media by the College’s employees, students, and other authorized individuals.
The policies and procedures outlined herein apply to all College students, employees, and the College community. These policies and procedures also apply to all other persons, including third party service providers, contractor personnel and tenants, who are granted the use of the College’s internet/intranet infrastructure, regardless of where these persons are located. These guidelines are applicable to any College employee, student or other authorized individual who creates or contributes to blogs, micro blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds, websites, notification services (e.g., Nixle, Rave, Alertus), or any other kind of social media inside or outside of the College’s domain. These policies and procedures shall also govern the drafting, distribution, and circulation of the College’s press releases.
The College Relations Department shall identify employees and students who are authorized to engage in social media activities on the behalf of the College for the limited purpose of discussing College programs, activities and services.
Any posts made referencing Brookdale’s name are subject to this Policy and Student and Employee Codes of Conduct.
Student clubs and organizations at the College are registered with the Student Life and Activities Department. Should a student club, recognized organization or individual associated with the College (“Official Groups”) wish to publish a blog, social media page or initiate an account associated with Brookdale, they should contact College Relations and Student Life & Activities, with the proposed account name, platform, purpose of the account, and the names of the anticipated account holders, for approval. The Official Groups must comply with approved College branding standards. Contact College Relations for assistance.
Anyone who participates in social media on behalf of the College, whether on or off duty, is expected to understand and follow this Policy and the guidelines outlined herein.
This Policy and the guidelines and procedures set forth herein are subject to change as new technologies and social networking tools emerge.
Social Media is defined as the various activities and websites (both internal and external to the College) that integrate technology, social interaction, and content creation. Social Media uses many technologies and forms, including, but not limited to, web feeds, wikis, blogs, photo and video-sharing, and podcasts.
- The establishment of social media pages and sites must be based on a clear business or educational need that is not served by the College’s existing social media platforms.
- The Department of College Relations will provide guidance on the engagement of College personnel in social media marketing to ensure the portrayal of a consistent and accurate message and branding of the College via online media outlets.
- The Department of College Relations will oversee the coordination of social media activity for the College and its departments. The Department of College Relations shall be notified of any new social media created to promote the College.
- The College Relations Department reserves the right to utilize or discontinue the use of social media platforms in its sole discretion. These social media activities are defined below.
SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
Social media, as used in this Policy, refers to all forms of on-line tools or services through which virtual communication is created allowing users to publish commentary and share information, ideas, personal messages and other content, including but not limited to, blogs, wikis, and social networking sites such as Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and other similar services.
The College’s Social Media Platforms, include, but are not limited to, the following:
General Usage Guidelines:
The College encourages all students, staff and community members, and expects administrators of officially affiliated webpages to be aware of copyright law as it applies to intellectual property on-line and all to abide by these laws. See resources on the United States Copyright Office’s website (www.copyright.gov) FAQs and the College’s website: www.brookdalecc.edu: Copyright Information and Guidelines.
All Official College Media Sites must adhere to state and federal laws and regulations and College Policies. Only public information may be posted on Official College Media Sites. Official College Media Sites must not contain sensitive personal information nor other confidential information as defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and relevant College Policies and Regulations.
Webpages and social media identified with the College must be consistent with the College’s branding guidelines, and Employee and Student Codes of Conduct, and shall be used only to support an authorized College or student function, group, or event.
D. Policy Regarding the Official Use of the College’s Social Media Sites and Tools.
The College understands that social networking and Internet services have become a common form of communication in the workplace and among stakeholders, citizens and students. Social networks are online communities of people or organizations that share interests or activities and use a wide variety of Internet technology to make the interaction a rich and robust experience. Employees, students and other authorized individuals who are authorized by the College to participate in social networks as a representative of the College shall adhere to the following guidelines when posting in such authorized capacity:
- All of the College’s policies, rules, regulations, and code of conduct and ethics including, but not limited to, its equal employment opportunity, anti-harassment policy, Information Systems Policies and Guidelines Policies on the Use of College Information Systems and disciplinary policy, apply to employees, students and other authorized individuals who engage in social networking activities while conducting College business. Use of your College e-mail address and communicating in your official capacity will constitute conducting College business.
- Protect your privacy, the privacy of citizens, and the College’s confidential information when engaging in social media activities. Follow all privacy protection laws, i.e., HIPPA, and protect sensitive and confidential College information. For purposes of this policy, “confidential information” refers to any information that is not publicly known, that is not otherwise available through New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1, (“OPRA”) or that is considered private information pursuant to federal, state or local law. It does not include any information that is subject to disclosure by the OPRA or is otherwise disclosable pursuant to the Employer-Employee Relations Act.
- Follow all copyright laws, open records laws, retention laws, fair use and financial disclosure laws and any other laws that might apply when engaging in social media activities.
- Do not cite vendors, suppliers, clients, citizens, co-workers or other stakeholders without their approval.
- Do not use ethnic slurs, profanity, personal insults, or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in the College’s workplace. Avoid comments or topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory.
- Frame any comments or responses in a respectful and positive manner. Do not argue with commenters. Be clear, but not defensive.
- Add value to the College through your interaction. Provide worthwhile information and perspective.
- All College information that is considered non-public and that is not disclosable under OPRA or the Employer-Employee Relations Act must be protected. Respect and maintain the confidentiality entrusted to you. Do not divulge or discuss proprietary information, personal details about other people or other confidential material.
- Stick to your area of expertise and provide unique, individual perspectives.
- Work and productivity matter. For your social media endeavors to be successful, you need to find the right balance between social media and other work.
- All College social networking activities are subject to State of New Jersey open records laws.
E. Personal Social Media Use
The College recognizes that employees and students have the right to use and maintain personal Web sites or to engage in social networking. However, the line between public and private activity has been blurred by these social networking tools, which is the primary reason these guidelines were developed. Information from your personal Facebook page, blog entries and tweets – even if they are intended as personal messages between family and friends – can easily reach beyond your intended audience and represent you and the College to the outside world. For that reason, the College’s policies, rules, regulations, and code of conduct and ethics including, but not limited to, its equal employment opportunity, anti-harassment policy and disciplinary policy, and other sections of this Social Media Policy should be your guides when you use these tools. Here are some additional guidelines for employees’ and students’ personal social networking sites:
- Recognize that everything you post or receive on a social media site is public. Anyone with access to the web can get access to your activity on social media sites. You are responsible for the content you post. If it gives you pause, pause before you publish.
- Remember that your personal and professional lives overlap in your online activity and that as a public employee you can be disciplined for your off-duty conduct.
- Before posting, consider how your comment or behavior would be received if it appeared in the mass media. In other words, behave as if you are in any other public setting.
- Use privacy settings to keep items you share with friends and family separate from what your share with your work-related “friends.”
- Make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of the College. If you publish content on any Web site outside of the College and it has something to do with the work you do or subjects associated with the College, use a disclaimer such as this: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent Brookdale Community College’s positions or opinions.”
- Remember that personal attacks and criticisms can cause a negative reaction.
- Do not use ethnic slurs, profanity, personal insults, or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in the College’s workplace and that would violate the College’s policies, rules, regulations, and code of conduct and ethics including, but not limited to, its equal employment opportunity, anti-harassment, Title IX and disciplinary policies.
- All College information that is considered non-public in nature and that is not disclosable under OPRA or the Employer-Employee Relations Act must be protected. Respect and maintain the confidentiality entrusted to you. Do not divulge or discuss proprietary information, personal details about other people or other confidential material.
- When in doubt about any online activity, contact the College Relations Department.
- The foregoing provisions are not intended to interfere with any employee’s and student’s rights pursuant to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution or Article I Section 6 of New Jersey’s Constitution. Likewise, this policy is not intended to restrict the right of any employee to engage in protected concerted activities as defined by the Employer-Employee Relations Act. Any person who believes their right to engage in such activities have been violated by this policy should contact the College Relations Department or Executive Associate, Legal Services.
F. Prohibited Uses of Social Media and Public Comment Policy
Expressions of speech that constitute libel are prohibited. Libel means speech that intentionally or negligently makes false statements about an individual, group or entity that causes injury to a person or entity’s reputation; and speech that maliciously makes false statements, connotations or inferences that causing injury to their reputation.
Expressions of speech that are obscene and not protected by the First Amendment are prohibited. Obscenity means a depiction or description, in a patently offensive way, of sexual conduct or excretory functions that, when taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value or that the average person, applying contemporary local standards, would find, when taken as a whole, appeals to prurient interests.
Expressions of speech that constitute harassment or discrimination under College Policies and/or State of New Jersey or Federal law are prohibited.
Expressions of speech that are directed to inciting or producing imminent violence or other breach of the peace and are likely to incite or produce such action are prohibited.
Expressions of speech that reveal information protected from disclosure by College policy, State of New Jersey or Federal law, including confidential student information, protected health information, confidential personal information, personal financial information, or confidential research data are prohibited.
The use of film, photographs, logos, or other material that violates the copyright, trademark or intellectual property rights of the College or others is prohibited.
Digital and audio recordings of live or on-line classroom instruction, and events held by Student Life & Activities or Registration/Admissions may be published on Social Media by College employees in the course of their official duties, consistent with College Policies and applicable laws. Digital and audio recordings of live or on-line classroom instruction may not be published by the College’s students on Social Media without the prior written consent of the faculty member(s) and the AVP, Student Affairs or VP, Academic Affairs.
Employees who violate this Policy may be subject to disciplinary measures, consistent with any applicable collective bargaining agreement, up to and including suspension, dismissal, and termination.
Students who violate this Policy may be subject to discipline in accordance with the College’s Student Code of Conduct.
V. Responsibility for Implementation
Interim Executive Director, College Relations
Related Policies and Regulations:
4.7001 Red Flag Identity Theft (Policy and Regulation)
4.7002 Information Security Program (Policy and Regulation)
4.7003 Data Classification and Permitted Use (Regulation)
4.7004 Graham-Leach-Bliley Act (Regulation)
4.7005 General Data Processing Regulation (Regulation)