Ratified by Senior Administrators on October 9, 2012

Section 1


The purpose of this policy is to define the terms and circumstances under which Connecticut College employees, including faculty and student employees, may use social media to represent the College; communicate College policy, or represent an official College position. In addition, this policy applies to personal use of social media to the extent that such activities are covered by existing College policies, take place during work hours, involve the use of College resources, or may be construed as official representations of the College.

The term “social media” refers to any Web-based and mobile technologies that enable individual or entities to disseminate or receive information, communicate, or otherwise interact. The term includes email, texting, messaging, social networking, blogging, micro-blogging, bulletin boards, and so on, through providers such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Yik Yak or others.

Section 2

For all employees:

As an employee of the College, you are personally responsible for any social media activity you conduct using a College email address or on a College website; and/or which can be traced back to a College domain; and/or which uses the College’s Information Systems; and/or which expressly or implicitly identifies you as a College staff person or faculty member.

You must observe and follow, if applicable, (i) existing College policy and agreements, such as the Employee Handbook and Employment Agreement(s) with the College, the College’s Appropriate Use Policy for Computer and Information Resources and the College’s anti-harassment and discrimination policies, (ii) the policies of the particular online/social networking venue governing the use and activity conducted on their sites, such as Facebook, which are sometimes referred to as “Terms of Use”, and (iii) applicable law.

You may not use social media to post or display comments about coworkers or supervisors or the College that are vulgar, obscene, threatening, intimidating, or that violate the College’s workplace policies against discrimination, harassment, or hostility on account of age, race, religion, sex, ethnicity, nationality, disability, or other protected class, status, or characteristic.

When posting to social media sites, you must honor the copyright and intellectual property rights of others, including the College. For guidance, consult the College’s Copyright Resources.

Do not post any information or conduct any online activity that may violate local, state or federal laws or regulations. Any conduct that is impermissible under the law if expressed in any other form or forum is impermissible if expressed through social media.

If, from your social media post, it is clear you are a College employee, or if you mention the College, or it is reasonably clear you are referring to the College or a position taken by the College, and also express a political opinion or an opinion regarding the College’s positions or actions, you must specifically note that the opinion expressed is your personal opinion and not the College’s position.

In any use of social media, employees—including faculty, staff and student employees—must follow applicable state and federal requirements including, but not limited to, FERPA and HIPAA privacy statutes and NCAA regulations.

You may not use or disclose personal information about another individual or use or disclose the College’s confidential or proprietary information in any form of social media. Personal information includes an individual's Social Security number, financial account number, driver’s license number, medical information (including family medical history) and other highly sensitive information, as well as information covered by the College's written information security program.

College confidential or proprietary information includes but is not limited to financial information, future business performance and business plans, business and brand strategies, and information that is or relates to College trade secrets. All College rules regarding College confidential or proprietary information and personal information, including the College’s written information security program, apply in full to social media, such as blogs or social networking sites. For example, any information that cannot be disclosed through a conversation, a note, a letter or an e-mail also cannot be disclosed in a social media outlet.

Section 3

For employees who post on behalf of a College unit, department or division:

If you are creating, managing or posting to a social media site on behalf of a Connecticut College division, department or unit, you are considered to be acting in an official capacity, and the following rules apply:

Social media accounts that represent an official Connecticut College entity (e.g. a department or unit) are considered to be College-sponsored social media. Creation of a College-sponsored social media site requires sign-off from the senior administrator in that area.

The Office of Marketing and Communications will maintain a list of College-sponsored social media pages and sites. Departments or College units that have a social media presence or would like to start one must notify the Office of Communications so that they can be included on this list.

All College-sponsored social media sites must designate a full-time employee responsible for monitoring the site and ensuring that the content is accurate and reasonably current. Out-of-date or unmonitored social media sites should be removed. (The Office of Marketing and Communications can assist and advise you with your social media planning.)

College-sponsored pages or posts on social media sites should be professional in tone and in good taste. No individual Connecticut College unit should construe its social media site as representing the College as a whole. Consider this when naming College-sponsored pages or accounts, selecting a profile picture or icon, and selecting content to post. Names, profile images, and posts for College-sponsored social media should all be clearly linked to the particular department or unit rather than to the institution as a whole.

Units that wish to use the College logo or other graphics in College-sponsored social media should consult with and obtain permission from the Office of Marketing and Communications prior to use. In these cases, the College’s Visual Identity Guidelines should be followed. Use of the College Seal is not permitted in College-sponsored social media.

College-sponsored accounts are bound by FERPA and other privacy regulations. For this reason, any students who are individually publicized through social media - including students identified in photo captions - must have a signed publicity release on file. The Office of Marketing and Communications maintains a file of signed publicity releases and will provide an updated list upon request.

All social media accounts created by College employees on behalf of the College remain the property of Connecticut College. Account information, including passwords and email addresses linked to a specific social media account, should be stored in a secured location that your supervisor is aware of and has access to.

An overview of social media best practices will be maintained by the Office of Marketing and Communications and posted on the College’s website. It is strongly recommended that those using or managing College-sponsored social media accounts follow these best practices.