The Catholic University of America

Social Media Policy

Approved by: President
History: Issued              -- June 1, 2017
  Revised            -- October 29, 2018
  Last Reviewed -- October 29, 2018
Related Policies: Code of Conduct for Staff and Faculty; Copyright Policy; Information Security and Assurance Policy; Marketing/Advertising Policy; Permission to Photograph Policy; Press Releases Policy; Non-Discrimination, Anti-Harassment, and Title IX Compliance Policy; Political Activities Policy; Sexual Offenses Policy (Student); Sexual Offenses Policy (Employees); Speaking to the News Media Policy; Student Code of Conduct; Technology Use PolicyTrademark Policy
Additional References:

The Catholic University of America Style and Visual Identity Guide;Social Medial Council Guidelines and Resource Book

Responsible Official:

Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications tel. (202) 319-5600


I.     Policy Statement

Social Media play a vital role in a University community.  At the same time, the University seeks to speak with one voice on official matters and to protect and accurately communicate the University’s mission and reputation.  To achieve these goals, this policy sets forth requirements and guidelines for staff, faculty and students regarding use of Social Media sites that purport to represent the University or its schools, departments or units.  The Office of Marketing and Communications shall have the final say on all University Social Media accounts.

II.     Definitions

A.   Social Media refer to websites and other online mechanisms or electronic platforms used for sharing or disseminating information, for personal or professional networking, or for other forms of social interaction. Examples of Social Media include, but are not limited to: blogs and other web-based journals; social or professional networking sites (such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn); video or photo sharing (such as YouTube, Flickr or Instagram); and online encyclopedias (such as Wikipedia).

B.   University Social Media means any Social Media that purport to represent the University or its schools, departments or units.

C.   News Media mean entities or mechanisms for delivering news to the general public or to a targeted audience. News Media include but are not limited to: newspapers; magazines or journals; television or radio stations or networks; and online media, including Social Media.

III.     Registration and Oversight of University Social Media Accounts

University Social Media accounts must be created and registered in coordination with the Office of Marketing and Communications at

An account administrator, preferably a member of the professional staff, must be designated by the University unit responsible for each Social Media account, and the name of that administrator must be provided to the Office of Marketing and Communications, who shall have the final say on all University Social Media accounts.  The responsibilities of account administrators are set forth in the University’s Social Media Council Guidelines and Resource Book

All aspects of account and site management, including responsibility for monitoring the site and its content, reside with the unit responsible for the account and site. Account administrators are responsible for ensuring that the site is compliant with University policies and are responsible for removing from the site any comments or other material deemed inflammatory, vulgar, or otherwise inappropriate.

The Office of Marketing and Communications retains the authority to deactivate any University Social Media account that violates this policy.

IV.     Requirements for University Social Media Accounts

Staff, faculty and students who use University Social Media accounts are subject to the same University policies and standards of conduct that apply to in-person activities and interactions on behalf of the University and to the following: 

A.   Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment

Comments or information posted may not be discriminatory or harassing per the University’s Non-Discrimination, Anti-Harassment, and Title IX Compliance Policy and Sexual Offenses policies (linked above), and may not be abusive, threatening or defamatory.

B.   Confidentiality, Privacy and Proprietary Information

Social Media sites are public.  Confidential or proprietary information pertaining to the University or to University staff, faculty, students, alumni or affiliates may not be posted on Social Media.  All information created or posted on or through University computers systems is subject to University policies, and is subject to the requirements of the University’s Information Security and Assurance Policy

C.   University Marks

Staff, faculty and students may only use the University’s approved names, seal, logos and other copyrighted or trademarked material in Social Media to identify themselves on matters of official University business.  All such use also must follow The Catholic University of America Style and Visual Identity Guide

D.   Copyright

All members of the University community must respect the copyrights held by owners of literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and other intellectual property. Review the University’s Copyright Guidelines, as set forth in the Copyright Policy, before posting any copyrighted material through Social Media. 

E.   Announcing University News and Contacts with the News Media

Per the University’s Press Releases Policy, University communications with the News Media must be managed by the Office of Marketing and Communications. If sharing University news, share only news and events that are a matter of public record, and link directly to the University news source maintained by the Office of Marketing and Communications

Social Media posts may generate interest from print, television or online News Media sources.   If contacted by any media source, contact the Office of Marketing and Communications before responding per the Speaking to the News Media Policy.

F.   Political Activities

University Social Media accounts and postings must abide by the University’s Political Activities Policy.

G.   Photographs and Videos

If photographs or videos are to be used in a Social Media postings, follow the University’s Permission to Photograph Policy regarding necessary consent.

H.   Additional requirements 

Individual University schools or units may have additional social media policies or requirements, so long as they are consistent with this policy.  Individual users may have other requirements or codes of ethics that impose additional rules or restrictions that are specific to a profession or license.

V.     Postings on Personal Sites

Staff and faculty are encouraged to speak in their areas of expertise per the Speaking to the News Media Policy.  When staff and faculty are expressing individual or collective views and their University affiliation is listed, they should make clear that the statements or opinions are their own and that they are not speaking for or in the name of the University.  In making personal postings in such instances, staff and faculty should use disclaimer language such as: “The views expressed in this [posting, blog, site, account, etc.] are my own and do not represent the views of The Catholic University of America.” 

The University’s approved names, seal, logos and other copyrighted or trademarked material may not be used on personal Social Media. In addition, staff and faculty members’ affiliations with the University (e.g. “dean,” coach,” “professor” or other title), or the name or abbreviation of the University or its schools, departments or units, may not be used in the monikers/handles of personal accounts. (Examples include @CatholicUPresident, @CUASwimmingCoach, @CUADeanofSchool, @CUAHistoryProf).

Even with these requirements and guidelines in place, persons in leadership roles with the University are urged, especially, to be mindful that many resources exist by which readers of social media posts can try to identify authors and the organizations with which they may be associated. Consequently, please keep in mind that the possibility exists the contents of even personal posts may be interpreted by others as being the “official” view of a representative of the University. This extends, as well, to potential retweets, reposts, and sharing of the original content of others. 

VI.     Violations

Employees are personally responsible for any social media postings they make.  Violations of this policy may result in removal of a University Social Media account or authority to post to such an account, or other University disciplinary action.

VII.    Style and Content Guidelines for Postings to University Social Media Accounts 

For assistance in creating and posting content most effectively to Social Media sites, review the University’s Social Medial Council Guidelines and Resource Book and contact the Office of Marketing and Communications (  These resources will help schools, departments and units develop a communication strategy, brand the account, and develop targeted and effective postings.