Online Policy Manual
4.20 Social Media
Institutional Social Media
Employee Guidance for Participating in Social Networking
Student Guidance for Participating in Social Networking
The goal of Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) use of social media is to foster an online community for various MCCCD constituents, reflecting the vision, mission and values of our organization. Although these sites are outside the direct control of the institution, MCCCD maintains an interest in how it is portrayed by them. Social media should be used to enhance communications, providing value to the institution’s target audiences.
This regulation does not apply to an individual’s private use of social media on private resources. Instead, this administrative regulation establishes standards for employees, students, and Governing Board members who create, administer or post to social media pages on behalf of MCCCD and the use of public resources. They should be seen as supplementing, and not in lieu of, existing Governing Board policies & regulations, official public stewardship responsibilities, technology resource standards, marketing & 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 MCCCD social media pages, forms that authorize the Maricopa Community Colleges (including its colleges and related entities) may be required for their use; for instance, when interviewing or photographing an individual for a story that will be posted on-line. Forms are available at the following link: www.maricopa.edu/marketing/
As with any other publicly funded resource that is used in an academic environment, the use of social media as a communications tool by agents who are acting and serving on behalf of the MCCCD is also subject to applicable laws and administrative regulations. Likewise, in accordance with Arizona Revised Statute 15-1408, a person acting on behalf of a community college district or a person who aids another person acting on behalf of a community college district shall not use community college district personnel, equipment, materials, buildings or other resources for the purpose of influencing the outcomes of elections. Except for what statutorily allowed for bond elections, using public resources to influence the outcomes of elections is strictly prohibited. This prohibition includes the use of technology resources.
Except as previously noted, this language does not prohibit community college districts from permitting student political organizations of political parties, to conduct lawful meetings in community college buildings or on community college grounds. Each student political organization that is allowed to conduct lawful meetings on community college property shall have equal access as any other student political organization that is allowed to conduct lawful meetings on community college property.
Nothing contained in this regulation shall be construed as denying the civil and political liberties of any person as guaranteed by the United States and Arizona Constitutions, nor does it seek to impede upon the tenants of academic freedom that are extended to faculty.
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 includes various sites, projects, virtual communities, that are created specifically on behalf of the MCCCD, its locations and agents, and that exist to serve as official MCCCD communications. Creation and use of social media sites on behalf of MCCCD and its member institutions 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 MCCCD’s technology resources are limited to the same purposes.
Authorization to create and administer social media sites on behalf of MCCCD must be coordinated through the corresponding district or college marketing department. Marketing departments are the official keepers of the MCCCD brands, and must ensure that all MCCCD social media sites are branded correctly, visually and with the right voice. It is appropriate to post to MCCCD authorized social media sites if posts are directly related to MCCCD business.
Under Arizona’s public records law, MCCCD is required to transact business so that its records are accessible and retrievable. If a public records request is made, MCCCD has the responsibility to disclose the information, except in a few specific instances. All information stored or transmitted via social media must follow records management, retention and maintenance practices. A MCCCD district or college email address ending in .edu must be used for communications to and from social media sites.
Records are retained for the period of time required by law, and disposed of according to mandates established by Arizona State Library, the state agency tasked with setting standards for record retention, in accordance with archives and public records law.
Employees should remember that students and the community might judge them and MCCCD by their posts. Employees should be honest and transparent about their identity and role at MCCCD. Maintain accuracy by verifying facts before posting information via social media. Exercise restraint and show respect for the opinions of others. Do not use MCCCD-related social media to promote services, products or organizations that are unrelated to MCCCD or its business. MCCCD public officials, employees and Governing Board members should use good judgment in connecting with others via social media sites.
Employees will keep their personal social media sites separate from MCCCD social media. In personal posts, employees may identify themselves as an MCCCD faculty or staff member. MCCCD 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 MCCCD or its member institutions.
Students are not restricted from using social media. However, they must understand that any content made public via MCCCD social media sites is expected to follow acceptable social behaviors and comply with Arizona revised statutes, federal laws, student handbooks, the student code of conduct regulation and other MCCCD policies and administrative regulations.
While the existing administrative regulation for Technology Resource Standards allows for a measure of incidental computer and technology usage for personal purposes, students must also abide by Arizona constitutional and statutory mandates regarding the use of public resources for personal use. The acceptable use of public technology resources is further defined in Administrative Regulation 4.4, “Technology Resource Standards” and personal usage is subject to the limitations outlined in this regulation.
A student who feels that he/she has been treated unfairly or unjustly by a faculty member (full-time or part-time) with regard to communications conducted via MCCCD social media sites must follow the formal Instructional Grievance Process.
The malicious use of MCCCD social media, including derogatory language about any member of the MCCCD 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.
Employees should be advised against perpetuating negative media from official MCCCD social media sites or damaging the MCCCD brands in any way. This type of negative social media engagement from official MCCCD sites can result in a loss of privileges to use social media in any official capacity.
The following list includes, but is not limited to, inappropriate content posting to social media sites:
- Conducting MCCCD 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 Maricopa students, alumni and employees that is in violation of MCCCD policies, HIPAA or FERPA.
- Violating any provision of MCCCD’s Technology Resource Standards.
- Violating any provision of the Student Conduct Code.
- Posting comments to MCCCD authorized social media sites that are not directly related to MCCCD business or accomplishing work-related goals.
- Posting any text, images or links to content that violate MCCCD’s Copyright Policy.
- Violating MCCCD’s Harassment policy.
- SPAM comments. All platforms that enable comments should be reviewed regularly for SPAM, removing SPAM comments as quickly as possible.
Use of any MCCCD and its member institutions’ logos, marks or likeness on personal social media sites is forbidden. Social media sites established for conducting MCCCD business must adhere to established graphic identity standards. Identity standards are posted at: maricopa.edu/marketing/graphicstandards
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:
All information published online by MCCCD is subject to change without notice. MCCCD is not responsible for errors or damages of any kind resulting from access to its Internet resources or use of the information contained therein. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information presented as factual; however errors may exist. Users are directed to countercheck facts when considering their use in other applications. MCCCD is not responsible for the content or functionality of any technology resource not owned by the institution.
The statements, comments, or opinions expressed by users through use of Maricopa's technology resources are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Maricopa County Community College District.
Complaints or allegations of a violation of these standards will be processed through MCCCD’s articulated grievance procedures, Student Conduct Code or resolution of controversy.
Upon determination of a violation of these standards, MCCCD 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. Users retain the right to appeal actions through MCCCD’s grievance process or resolution of controversy.
See AS-11 MCCCD Social Media Best Practice Guidelines for more information.
ADOPTED by the Administrative Regulation Process, November 7, 2011
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