Social Media Policy

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to encourage the use of social media by institutional users while making sure usage is in line with applicable state and federal laws and regulations, and to provide protection to the College’s reputation and other members of its community.

Scope

This policy applies to all of the Columbia College community. While this policy primarily applies to social media accounts that are College-owned and College-controlled, it will also provide general guidelines regarding personal use.

Policy

Columbia College (College) acknowledges that social media may be used to further the College’s mission by providing channels of interaction and engagement between the College and students, parents, faculty, employees, alumni, fans, media, the surrounding community, potential students and donors, etc. The College supports this kind of participation in social media and is committed to academic freedom in these channels.

The College does not prescreen posted content, but it shall reserve the right to remove, in its sole discretion, any content that it considers to violate this policy. The College does not endorse or take responsibility for content posted by third parties. All social media accounts maintained by College employees, recognized student organizations, and/or departments for College related purposes are required to share administrator access/rights with the College’s Marketing Department. Any existing websites or pages that represent the College are reviewed routinely and may be amended or, when necessary, removed.

The College does not permit explicit or implied institutional endorsements of any kind through the use of its names, trademarks, logos, or images – including but not limited to pictures of campus buildings.

Acceptable content may be positive or negative in context to the conversation, regardless of whether it is favorable or unfavorable to the College. However, language that is illegal, obscene, defamatory, threatening, infringing of intellectual property rights, invasive of privacy, profane, libelous, threatening, harassing, abusive, hateful, or embarrassing to any person or entity, or otherwise injurious or objectionable is unacceptable and shall be removed.

Columbia College will not tolerate content that infringes on proprietary information, or that is defamatory, pornographic, harassing, libelous, or inhospitable to a reasonable work environment.

Nothing herein is designed to be so far reaching that it might foreclose any legal rights of an employee or student, including an employee’s right to discuss conditions of employment as protected under the National Labor Relations Act.

Personal Use of Social Media

This section applies to an employee or student’s personal use of social media. Further, it outlines the potential impact of personal social media use to your employment or student relationship with Columbia College.

  • Think first, post second. The things that can get you in trouble and subject you to discipline with the College can do the same in the realm of the internet and social media. Some examples include: sexually harassing a colleague, inappropriate interactions with students, derogatory statements, threatening or intimidating others, violating privacy policies/laws, or defamation.
  • Be mindful of copyright and intellectual property rights of others and the college and of college policies regarding those rights. A common example would be posting a video with copyrighted music attached to it. All videos are subject to review by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., and they reserve the right to remove content and even possibly suspend your account if copyright infringement is in play. 
  • Generally, employees should manage their personal social media accounts on their own time. There may be minimal personal use of social media while utilizing College resources but only to the extent such use does not hinder an employee’s job productivity, the productivity of other employees, or College programs/activities.
  • Computers, hardware, information technology accounts, and information technology infrastructure are property owned and operated by the College. As a result, the law does not grant you an expectation of privacy in your usage of them. Conduct personal matters on your personal devices and refrain from doing so on property owned by the college.
  • You are prohibited from using the College name or image to endorse an opinion, product, cause, business, or political candidate or otherwise holding yourself out as a representative of the College when you are not. When expressing a personal opinion, acknowledge this, especially if your statement could be reasonably interpreted by the message receiver that you are speaking on behalf of the College. You 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 Columbia College."
  • Only authorized institutional staff members may recruit potential student-athletes. The College may be held in violation of NAIA rules and regulations if you use your personal social media accounts to contact potential student-athletes with whom you do not have close personal relationships in an attempt to recruit or entice them to attend Columbia College.
  • Finally, remember anything you post can resurface in the future. Anyone can screenshot and save any content that you post. Since you deleted a post after realizing it was inappropriate doesn’t mean that it went unnoticed by even one individual. Always remember, think first before posting.

Non-Compliance/Breach of Policy

Violations of this policy will result in a review of the incident and may include action under appropriate College discipline processes. Corrective action may involve but are not limited to: a verbal or written warning, suspension or dismissal and/or termination of employment or privileges with Columbia College. This section does not preclude disciplinary action for conduct that involves social media and that also violates other College policies.

Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the College’s Human Resources Department or Student Affairs.