North Park University - Chicago North Park University - Chicago

University Marketing and Communications

Social Media Policy and Guidelines

Students have the opportunity to develop friendships, discover talents, and explore the world through many of these popular online channels. For faculty and staff, online channels allow thoughtful, purposeful engagement. For these reasons, North Park is committed to utilizing social media alongside traditional classwork as we all learn and grow together.

As an institution, North Park University strives to be a part of the networks where our students, employees, alumni, and friends engage. You can find North Park through these social media channels:

While North Park University encourages the use of social media, all users should remember that social media tools are a powerful form of communication that can have a significant impact on organization, professional and individual reputations. Lines between personal and professional content, and between public and private content, are often blurred. Whether participating on behalf of the University, a University related group, or personally, all users must follow the same behavioral standards online as they would in face-to-face or one-on-one interactions. Remember that the internet is not anonymous, nor does it forget.

Guidelines for Use

A. Take Responsibility and Be Transparent

  1. You are responsible for anything you write or do online.
    • The speed of being able to publish your thoughts is both a great feature and a great downfall of social media. The time to edit or reflect must be self-imposed.
    • If in doubt over a post, or if something does not feel right, allow time for reflection before posting or ask a friend or colleague to review and provide feedback before posting.
    • Remember that satire or sarcasm is often misunderstood. Be careful how you use it.
    • Never underestimate the power of photographs and videos. They can help communicate your message in a creative, compelling way, but may also be easily misinterpreted, so use sound judgment in making selections.
    • Quality matters. Use a spell-checker.
  2. Practice academic integrity.
    • Never post content that invites academic dishonesty. Remember both the enabler and the student taking advantage of the material are equally guilty.
    • Do not plagiarize—give proper attribution.
  3. Practice personal integrity.
    • Do not make or endorse recklessly or maliciously false statements.
    • Never misrepresent your identity.
    • If writing in your personal capacity about University matters, make clear that the views you express are your own, not necessarily those of the University.
    • Do not pretend to have expertise, information, or authority you do not have.

B. Respect Your Audience and Your Colleagues

  1. Abide by the ethical, moral, and professional standards of North Park University as outlined in the Student Handbook, Employee Handbook, and Manual of Academic Personnel Policies. In particular, this includes the Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Retaliation.
  2. Do not express, communicate, or link to libelous, defamatory, harassing, or pornographic content, even by way of example or illustration.
  3. Never make statements or post photos or video that directly or indirectly threaten harm (whether through violence, economic intimidation, exclusion, or other means) to an individual, group, or the University.
  4. Do not promote illegal conduct such as sexual violence, vandalism, underage drinking, or involvement with controlled substances.
  5. Think about the consequences of what you are posting.
    • Assume your writings will spread.
    • When responding to a negative post, first confirm facts, consider whether the poster deserves an apology for any reason, and consider responding offline, it may be a more effective way to resolve disagreements.
  6. Except for legitimate academic or business purposes, faculty should avoid personal social media relationships with students, and administration should avoid personal social media relationships with staff under their supervision.

C. Respect the Property of Others

  1. Respect intellectual property rights.
    • Do not distribute copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright owner.
    • Do not use trademarks or logos without the owner’s permission.
    • Adhere to the user agreements (terms and polices) for each social media site with which they engage.
  2. When using North Park University-owned computers or the campus network to access social media sites, comply with the Acceptable Use Policy.

D. Respect Confidentiality

  1. Respect personal boundaries and individual privacy rights. Public disclosure of private facts may cause serious emotional or psychological injury.
  2. Do not post sensitive personal identifying information (such as social security numbers, student identification numbers, addresses, or birth dates). Such information may enable identity theft.
  3. Do not post any information about another person that is protected from disclosure by law or professional standards (such as medical information or student education records). Check with your program or department to determine whether it has a specific social media usage protocol to ensure compliance with professional and privacy requirements of particular fields or governing/accreditation body.

E. Respect the University’s Interests

  1. Do not post anything that interferes with your work, the University’s educational mission, or the welcoming and diverse environment the University promotes as a distinctively Christian, intentionally urban, and purposefully multicultural institution.
  2. Do not use the University’s “brand” to endorse or promote a non-University product, opinion, cause, or political candidate. Avoid any statement that would make the reader think that opinions you endorse or promote reflect the views of the University.
  3. If you find negative posts by a third party about the University, its faculty, staff, or students that you believe needs a response by the University, contact the Office of Marketing and Communications.

F. Be Wary

  1. People who communicate with you online may not be who they claim to be. They may have an improper motive, or seek information to which they are not entitled.
  2. Posted information is often repeated and linked to other sources—anything you post may go viral, including your off-hand comments.

Unacceptable Posts Will Be Removed.

Actions that are unacceptable in other settings are also unacceptable on University social media channels. Posts or interactions that violate our community standards and policies will be removed at the discretion of the University. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Harassment in any form.
  • Failure to respect the rights of others, such as the right to privacy.
  • Forgery or other misrepresentation of one’s identity.
  • Distribution of copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright owner.
  • Posts containing personal attacks, profanity, nudity, hate speech, illegal material or that otherwise violate the Social Media Guidelines.
  • Advertising/soliciting for non-University-sponsored products, programs, and events.
  • Spam

North Park sponsored online forums should be used for discussion of general interests and issues relating to North Park, not specific individuals and situations.

The University cannot immediately review every comment posted on a North Park sponsored page. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the University and the University does not guarantee the accuracy of these posts.

Requests that content be removed from University social media channels, as well as comments about content, should be addressed to North Park University’s Office of Marketing and Communications.

Complaints and Reporting Violations

If you feel that you have been harassed or victimized by another individual’s social media use, please report it following the complaint procedures outlined in the University’s Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Retaliation. If the individual you have a complaint against is another member of the North Park community, the University will take all steps possible to help you come to an appropriate resolution to the complaint.

Most social media channels offer a method for reporting offensive or harassing posts. For North Park sponsored sites, contact the Office of Marketing and Communications.

Students may also find it helpful to seek the support and advice of their Resident Director, the University’s Social Media Manager, another trusted North Park University staff member, or the Dean of Students. Faculty and staff may contact Human Resources.

If you become aware of other violations of this policy, please report the violation to the Office of Marketing and Communications.

Posting on Behalf of the University

Only administration-designated employees are permitted to post on behalf of the University. If you receive an external request for comment “by the University” or an inquiry requiring a response on behalf of the University, you should direct the request or inquiry to the Office of Marketing and Communications. Note: this rule does not prevent other members of the North Park community from commenting or responding to questions so long as they do so in their individual capacities.

Non-Interference with Applicable Laws

This policy is not intended to restrict or interfere with the legal rights of any student or employee, including, but not limited to, any and all rights under the National Labor Relations Act, Title VI, Title VII, Title IX or other equal opportunity laws, or any whistleblower protection law.

Questions About This Policy

Please contact the Director of Human Resources if you have any questions about this policy.