Social Media Policy

Effective date: February 1, 2011

What is the purpose of this policy?

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for the responsible use of social media resources. These resources include, but are not limited to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flikr, Blogs, Wikis, MySpace and LinkedIn.

To whom does this policy apply?

This policy applies to all University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) students and employees who use social media in either a professional or a personal capacity. Employees include faculty, staff and administrators, including those employed in an adjunct, part-time or temporary capacity. Professional use includes contributing to UIW-sponsored or other social media sites while representing UIW in an official capacity. Personal use refers to employees or students who use social media as part of their personal life.


UIW encourages the use of social media by university offices, faculty, and students to enhance our local, national and global reputation and our connection with current and future students, parents, alumni, donors, and other key constituencies. When used responsibly, social media sites provide an effective way to promote the university and to share information and perspective across a broad range of topics.

UIW-Sponsored Social Media

All UIW-sponsored social media sites must be approved and registered with the university’s Office of Communications and Brand Marketing. All UIW-sponsored social media sites must include the names and contact information of at least two (2) site administrators. Social media sites affiliated with a student organization should also register a site sponsor through Campus Engagement. Sites representing UIW may be reviewed and amended for content. Email for social media site approval.

Guidelines for the Responsible Use of Social Media in a Professional Capacity

UIW students or employees who manage or post to UIW-sponsored social media sites should:

  • Exercise good judgment. Protect and enhance the value of UIW's mission by avoiding comments, photos, videos or images that could be interpreted or perceived as slurs, demeaning, inflammatory, unduly suggestive, inappropriate or otherwise contrary to the university's Mission.
  • Protect confidential information and relationships. Do not post confidential, proprietary or controversial information about the university, its students, alumni or employees. Respect copyright and fair use laws by obtaining proper permissions and giving appropriate credit for work. Follow university policies and federal regulations, such as FERPA, HIPAA, and PHI.
  • If employed by UIW, use social media sites during working hours only if you have a business-related need to do so and your supervisor has approved.
  • Be authentic. State that you work at UIW, include your name and title. Transparency is critical in the social media environment.
  • Stick to your area of expertise and provide unique, individual perspectives on non-confidential activities at UIW. If you have a vested interest in what you are discussing, be the first to say so; it adds to your credibility.
  • Use official UIW logos only as specified in the university style guide.
  • Consider the public nature and longevity of comments before posting.
  • Keep sites current by refreshing content regularly, responding to questions in a timely manner, and updating information.

Guidelines for the Responsible Use of Social Media in a Personal Capacity

When using social media sites in a personal capacity, employees and students should:

  • Maintain clear lines between professional and personal social media activities.
  • Avoid using the university's name to promote or endorse any product, cause, religious view, political party, candidate, etc.
  • Avoid using the university's name in connection with comments, photos, videos or images that could be interpreted or perceived as slurs, demeaning, inflammatory, illegal, unduly suggestive, sexual innuendo, inappropriate or otherwise contrary to the university's Mission.
  • Remember that libel laws are in effect even when your social media accounts are set to “private.”
  • Refrain from posting content such as images or medical records that represent a breach of confidentiality.
  • Maintain appropriate boundaries. (For example, health professionals should not “friend” patients on their personal sites.)
  • Be advised that personal information can be used to perpetrate identity theft which can compromise the security of students, employees, and the institution.
  • When in doubt, don't post.

Reporting Concerns

The University of the Incarnate Word encourages the use of social media. However, persons with concerns about content posted on UIW-sponsored social media sites may direct their comments to UIW's Human Resources department.

Discipline for Violations

Any use of social media that threatens the safety of UIW constituencies, exhibits a lack of moral character, and/or is unlawful or a violation of University policy, may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination or being asked to leave the institution. The University investigates and responds to all reported concerns about social media use or content. Please be aware that you may be held responsible for any personal legal liability imposed for any published content.