CCNY Social Media Guidelines

Social Media Mission and Standards

City College's social media platforms are prominent, public, and official expressions of the College. The primary purpose of social media for City College is strategic: to advance the reputation and strategic goals of CCNY while at all times showing the College to best advantage. Secondary social-media aspirations—informing, engaging, creating community—must meet the strategic standard first.

City College's Social Media Guidelines apply to all accounts intended to represent entities of CCNY (such as schools/divisions, departments, administrative offices, programs, institutes, centers, and the 21st Century Foundation*) and the staff, faculty, administrators, and students who manage or contribute to those CCNY accounts. Official account managers are requested to inform the Office of Institutional Advancement and Communications of their account(s) for the purposes of information-sharing and the promotion of College-affiliated accounts.

The Institutional Advancement and Communications office will feature official CCNY accounts on the forthcoming City College Social Media Feeds page, to increase visibility and to foster sharing and engagement among the college's social media feeds.

* When the consolidation of the 21st Century Foundation and the City College Fund is finalized, these Guidelines will apply to that new entity. 

Issued January 2019

  1. Guidelines for Representing City College in Social Media

    1. Uphold City College's mission and guiding principles.
       
    2. Use good judgment about content and respect privacy laws.
      • Do no harm to CCNY, CUNY, students, faculty, administrators, staff, or the community.
      • Do not post confidential or proprietary information about City College or any of its students, faculty, staff, or administrators.
      • Observe all applicable federal laws and regulations, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ( FERPA), which restricts the disclosure of personally identifiable student information.
      • Confirm the accuracy of information before posting it.   
      • Be aware that all posts are public.
    3. Maintain a distinction between CCNY-affiliated professional social presences and your personal social media accounts.
       
    4. To make clear that your CCNY social media account is connected with City College, include "CCNY," "City College," or "The City College of New York" in the names ("handles") of CCNY-affiliated social media profiles. In addition, the College must be identified clearly by name in profile bios. Linking to the College's own profile/page in your bio or About section is another practical way to make the connection clear. When referring to the College, "The City College of New York" (with initial capital letters as indicated) is preferable at first mention, where space allows. "City College" or "CCNY" are both acceptable in subsequent mentions and where character counts are limited.
       
    5. On Facebook, City College-affiliated pages must be "fan pages," which users "like" rather than "friend."
       
    6. If you, as a CCNY social media account manager or contributor, are contacted by a member of the media about content from your CCNY social media account, please promptly notify the Assistant Director of Digital Communications and Executive Director/Senior Adviser to the President. The Office of Institutional Advancement and Communications serves as the sole spokesperson for City College when the College receives media inquiries.
       
    7. The City College name may not be used (or implied) to endorse political candidates (regardless of any connection to CCNY) or promote (or co-brand with) causes, opinions, products, public figures, and/or services other than its own.
       
    8. Remember that content contributed on all social media platforms becomes immediately public, searchable, and shared. Search engines, screen shots, and other web technologies make it virtually impossible to "take something back," even if deleted.
       
    9. If a mistake occurs in a post, correct it promptly. If a social media error generates negative feedback, apologize and address the issue quickly and honestly.
       
    10. CCNY-affiliated social media account holders are advised to monitor incoming comments and messages, both public and private.
      • CCNY's Social Media 101 provides pointers on customer service etiquette in responding to inquiries. (See also Section II E below regarding comments.)
      • Specific questions may be asked in incoming comments and messages that are beyond a social media manager's area of knowledge or expertise. To maintain accuracy and appropriateness, answers to substantive questions must be obtained from the appropriate department or person before responding.
      • If the question is general—such as, "How do I apply to CCNY?" or "When does the shuttle bus run during exams?"—include a link to the relevant page on the CCNY website when responding. For example, "Hi [Name], thank you for your interest in CCNY. The CCNY website provides information on Admissions, including contact information should you have further questions: https://www.ccny.cuny.edu/admissions"
      • If sensitive issues arise in incoming comments and messages, seek guidance from a supervisor. In case of threats or emergencies, contact CCNY Public Safety and alert your supervisor. Social media managers are advised to make and save a printed copy or screenshot of sensitive, threatening, and emergency posts, including the date when it was posted and who posted it.
    11. CCNY-affiliated social media account holders are encouraged to be aware of breaking news.
      • In an emergency or crisis situation dominating the news, social media managers are requested to refrain from posting to social media on behalf of City College. If there is prescheduled content, social media managers should promptly un-schedule it.
      • The exception, if and when directed by the Office of the President, CCNY Public Safety, or CUNY, would be to post specific emergency information to the college community.
  2. Content and Imagery Guidelines

    1. Account owners who would like to incorporate a City College logo, seal, or other symbol or mark of the College (collectively, the "College marks") in their social media account's design or profile image should contact the Creative Design Specialist for a design consultation and to obtain the official options. City College reserves the right to decline approval for use of the College marks.
    2. Other, non-college-mark imagery (such as banner, cover, header, and profile images) is at the discretion of the account owner(s). Participants must adhere to copyright laws for all images and text used in social media profiles and posts (see also Section C below).
       
    3. The following procedures for permissions and attribution are applicable to all CCNY-affiliated social media accounts, blogs, and web pages:
      • City College's photo/video release guidelines govern the use of images and video of CCNY students and employees.
      • For advance guidance on permission for photography or videotaping of campus visitors or members of the external community, contact the Director of Marketing.
      • Keep and maintain records of releases.
      • Permission must be obtained before using material (images, text, or other media) you do not own or have the right to use. Include a credit and link to the original material if available.
    4. Social media users representing entities of City College must adhere to all applicable City College and CUNY policies, including without limitation those listed on the City College Human Resources Policies and Procedures page and CUNY’s Policy on Acceptable Use of Computer Resources, Intellectual Property Policy, and IT Security Policies and Procedures.
       
    5. City College reserves the right to remove comments posted to its social media platforms that are off-topic, or that violate law or any City College or CUNY policy (including CUNY’s Policy on Acceptable Use of Computer Resources) or the policies of the social media service. CCNY-affiliated accounts are requested to do the same. Social media managers are advised to make and save a printed copy or screenshot of sensitive, threatening, and emergency posts, including the date when it was posted and who posted it.
       
    6. In addition to adhering to City College's Social Media Guidelines, all content is bound by the Terms of Service or User Agreement for each social media service. See the following examples:
  3. User Privacy

    As a courtesy to the City College community, CCNY advises College-affiliated social media accounts to remind their audience(s) each semester that social media is a public form of communication. Social media users should understand that their activity anywhere on social media, including on social platforms associated with City College, is not private. Social media users are encouraged to keep up to date on the privacy policies, terms of service, settings, and significant news pertaining to the social media platforms they use.

  4. User Accessibility

    To ensure that CCNY-affiliated social media content can be accessed and enjoyed as widely as possible and is compatible with assistive technology, CCNY-affiliated accounts are requested to:

For further information, contact the Office of Institutional Advancement and Communications.

These guidelines are updated as of January 2019. City College reserves the right to modify these guidelines at any time.

In developing these guidelines, CCNY thanks the CUNY Graduate Center for its example.