University Updates Social Media Policy


Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram

Fordham unveiled a new social media policy this week

Erica Scalise , Projects Editor

In an email addressed to the Fordham community on Oct. 7, the university revealed its updated social media policy which aims to better support the university’s increased presence across platforms and respond to changes in the social media landscape, according to Bob Howe, assistant vice president for communications and special adviser to the president.

The updated policy, which supersedes the university’s Jan. 2011 policy, focuses on five topics, including: applicability and scope, content guidelines, reporting guidelines, official Fordham social media account recognition and faculty and staff personal social media accounts/posts. It also adopts guidelines from the previous policy which asks that community members refrain from using profanity and from making personal attacks in any comments posted to the university’s social media platforms.

Howe said he circulated the first draft of the proposal in July 2018.

“I had input from the Information Risk Management Board (which includes representatives from IT, Public Safety, Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, Finance and Enrollment); Legal Counsel; the Provost; the Cabinet; the Faculty Senate; and of course Father McShane,” said Howe.

The policy applies to all university employees, including faculty and staff, and to anyone posting content and comments to any official Fordham site, according to the email and Fordham News.

The policy states that “nothing [in it] should be construed as constraining speech on non-University social media, nor other non-University print, broadcast, nor digital channels,” and encompasses, but is not limited to, blogs (i.e., web-based journals) and microblogs (e.g., Tumblr), collaborative websites (e.g., Wikipedia, etc.), message boards, social networking sites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter), podcasts (i.e., multimedia distributed over the internet), video sharing (e.g., YouTube) and photo sharing (e.g., Instagram, Snapchat, etc).

Only social media pages officially recognized by Fordham will be included in the official Fordham Social Media Registry according to the policy, and users must seek approval and guidance from the Office of University Communications if they wish to set up a social media account for official university business.

The policy also provides a list of guidelines for personal social media accounts for faculty and staff. According to the policy, the university does not seek to determine the appropriateness of content on faculty and staff’s personal social media accounts. It suggests individuals use their best judgement, separate their views from the university with a disclaimer when needed and never use Fordham’s trademarked or copyrighted marks or emblems without the prior approval, with the exception of Linkedin.

Under the policy, the university assumes no responsibility for user comments, screen names, nor any information a third-party posts. The policy also urges the community to contact Public Safety if content or comments on Fordham’s social media pages raise concerns about an individual’s safety or the safety of the university community. If the comments violate Fordham’s social media policy or the university code of conduct, but do not threaten the university community or property, members of the community are instructed to email [email protected].