The College understands that social media can be a fun and rewarding way to share your life and opinions with family, friends and co-workers around the world. However, use of social media also presents certain risks and carries with it certain responsibilities. To assist you in making responsible decisions about your use of social media, we have established these guidelines for appropriate use of social media.
This policy applies to all employees who work for the College and other “Users” of College computer resources. A “User” is any person who has access to or uses the College’s computer resources and/or the College’s information or communication systems (“Information Systems”), including but not limited to, employees, vendors, and/or students. The standards and guidelines listed below are not all-inclusive. This policy is not intended to preclude or dissuade employees from engaging in activities protected by state and federal law.
In the rapidly expanding world of electronic communication, social media can mean many things. Social media includes all means of communicating or posting information or content of any sort on the Internet, including your own or someone else’s web log or blog, journal or diary, personal website, social networking or affinity website, web bulletin board or chat room, whether or not associated or affiliated with the College, as well as any other form of electronic communication.
The same principles and guidelines found in the College’s policies apply to your activities online. Ultimately, you are solely responsible for what you post online. Before creating online content, consider some of the risks and rewards that are involved. Keep in mind that any of your conduct that adversely affects your job performance, the performance of fellow employees or otherwise adversely affects students, people who work on behalf of the College, or the College’s legitimate interests may result in disciplinary action up to and including an unpaid suspension or termination.
No Expectation of Privacy
You should have no expectation of privacy when using the College’s Information Systems for social media purposes. Posting while using the College’s computer resources or devices, whether for business or non-business purposes, is not private and is subject to College policies, including monitoring of usage and blocking of certain sites. Online content written, used, received, developed, or saved in College-owned or leased equipment provided to employees is the property of the College.
By accessing and using the College’s Information Systems, you expressly consent to such monitoring by the College and acknowledge that YOU HAVE NO EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY WITH RESPECT TO ANY INFORMATION ON THE INFORMATION SYSTEMS PROVIDED OR MADE AVAILABLE TO YOU BY THE COLLEGE. Your consent to such monitoring specifically includes access to personal postings or other messages made on the College’s Information Systems.
Know and Follow the Rules
Carefully read these guidelines, and ensure your postings are consistent with College policies. Inappropriate postings that may include discriminatory remarks, harassment, sexual innuendo, ethnic slurs, obscenity, and threats of violence or similar inappropriate or unlawful conduct will not be tolerated and may subject you to disciplinary action up to and including an unpaid suspension or termination. Also, you may be liable if your posts are found to be defamatory, harassing or in violation of any other applicable law or regulation. It is your responsibility to ensure that you comply with such laws and regulations as related to the College’s policies and practices.
Always be fair and courteous to fellow employees, students, guests, or people who work on behalf of the College. Also, keep in mind that you are more likely to resolve work-related complaints by speaking directly with your co-workers or by approaching your supervisor than by posting complaints to a social media outlet. Nevertheless, if you decide to post complaints or criticism, avoid using statements, photographs, video or audio that reasonably could be viewed as malicious, obscene, threatening, or intimidating, that disparage employees, customers, vendors, competitors, or others, or that might constitute harassment or bullying. Examples of such conduct might include offensive posts meant to intentionally harm someone’s reputation or posts that could contribute to a hostile work environment on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion or any other status protected by law or the College policy.
Be Honest and Accurate
Make sure you are always honest and accurate when posting information or news, and if you make a mistake, correct it quickly. Be open about any previous posts you have altered. Remember that the Internet archives almost everything; therefore, even deleted postings can be searched. Never post any information or rumors that you know to be false about the College, fellow employees, students, vendors, people working on behalf of the College, or other educational institutions.
Post Only Appropriate and Respectful Content
1. Maintain the confidentiality of private or confidential information.
2. Do not post information that is private according to state or federal law.
3. Do not create a link from your blog, website or other social networking site to the College’s website without identifying yourself as an employee of the College.
4. Express only your personal opinions. Never represent yourself as a spokesperson for the College. If the College is a subject of the content you are creating, be clear and open about the fact that you are an employee and make it clear that your views do not represent those of the College, fellow employees, students, or people working on behalf of the College. If you do publish a blog or post online related to the work you do or subjects associated with the College, make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of the College (e.g., “The views expressed on this post are mine personally and do not necessarily reflect the views of the College as I am not authorized to reflect the views of the College.”).
5. Harassment, bullying, discrimination, or retaliation that would not be permissible in the workplace is not permissible between employees and students or co-workers online, even if it is done after hours, from home and on home computers.
6. Use your best judgment and exercise personal responsibility. Take your responsibility as stewards of personal information to heart. Integrity, Accountability, and Respect are core values of the College. Remember that there can be consequences to your actions in the social media world—both internally, if your comments violate the College’s policies, and with outside individuals and/or entities. If you are about to publish, respond to, or engage in something that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable, don’t do it.
Using Social Media at Work
1. Refrain from using social media while on work time, unless it is work-related as authorized by your supervisor or consistent with the College’s policies.
2. The College reserves the right at its sole discretion to restrict or block certain Internet sites.
3. Do not use the College’s email address to register on social networks, blogs or other online tools utilized for personal use.
Postings are not the preferred method to report problems or to file formal complaints. Employees should make these reports to a member of management. Nevertheless, if the College is made aware of a social media posting setting forth an employee’s work-related concerns, the College will address the complaint using the above-mentioned channels. Contact Human Resources if you become aware of a posting published by an employee that is in violation of the College’s discrimination or harassment policies or any law or regulation.
Retaliation is Prohibited
The College prohibits taking negative action against any employee for reporting a possible deviation from this policy or for cooperating in an investigation. Any employee who retaliates against another employee for reporting a possible deviation from this policy or for cooperating in an investigation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including an unpaid suspension or termination.
Violation of Policy
Individuals found to be in violation of this policy or any standards or policies of the College may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including an unpaid suspension or termination. Depending on the nature of the violation, you may also be subject to civil and/or criminal penalties.
Questions about this policy should be directed to Human Resources.