Social media platforms provide some of the quickest and most direct ways to share information, but with their power to inform also comes institutional risk. Though Oregon State is committed to having a strong social media presence institution-wide, it's important to ensure that messages from faculty, staff and students are strategic and consistent with the university’s overall mission and brand.

These policies have been developed by the University to facilitate legal, safe and effective use of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and more. They will be updated as needed as social media evolves.

Social media accounts created on behalf of Oregon State University are the sole property of the institution. Creators and administrators of the accounts have no ownership rights.

Whether it’s a snow day or a threat of violence, there will be times when providing information quickly and accurately is vital. In the event of an emergency or high-level announcement to on or off campus communities, university-related social media accounts should refrain from posting any content and refer all followers to the institutional (@oregonstate) social accounts for more information. Depending on the situation, share or retweet university messages and, depending on the situation, may provide additional details that are unique to your area.

Actions and Considerations

  • Be sensitive to the emergencies of others.
  • When serious situations arise elsewhere in the world, sometimes the best thing for an account to do is to go silent. Take a break from business as usual and create room for important conversations and content. Don’t position the university to be seen as tone deaf or oblivious to the larger world around us.
  • Halt all scheduled posts until the crisis has concluded. These are times when you want full control of the message. Consider pausing or delaying paid advertising that is placed within social media.
  • Reshare official university updates. If you are unsure of what to share or have questions about specific contextual information that might be relevant to your audiences, reach out to the University Marketing social team for guidance.

If you see content on your social platforms, that might warrant urgent action, please contact campus safety and Steve Clark, URM Vice President, immediately. It’s best to email screenshots of posts and include specifics on platform and date posted. For content that is questionable, don’t hesitate to reach out to the University Marketing social team for guidance. It’s better to over share than risk the university be uninformed.

It’s common for sensitive issues or complicated situations to be discussed on social platforms. During these times, Steve Clark will provide guidance and oversight as the official spokesperson for Oregon State. For example, updates regarding university operations and how we are addressing COVID-19.

Please share any potential issues with the University Marketing social team or if there is a degree of immediacy, with Steve Clark directly. Remember to screenshot anything you see and share as much detail you can provide. Every situation is unique and will require specific tactics for sharing information and making official university statements.

The best way to manage negative feedback from users is to ignore the trolls looking to incite an argument. However, if our alumni, faculty, students or staff provide negative feedback, it's important to address the issue. For those who are very upset, give an option to connect offline and away from public view. If you have the ability to contact them directly, make sure to leave a response in the public forum so others don't assume the issue was ignored.

  • Example mention: The last year my school advisors have been dropping the ball... @OregonState who do I constructively complain to?!
  • Example response: If you DM us your academic college/program, we can work with you to find specific people who would really appreciate your feedback.

For minor grievances or complaints try to solve the problem publicly. Be apologetic and offer to help. Try to find a solution, but make sure to not over promise or commit to something that can't be delivered. Negative feedback happens; it's an opportunity to demonstrate the value of our networks and deliver good customer service.

  • Example complaint: DO NOT BRING THE STUDENTS BACK. They will be bringing COVID. Everyone knows what will happen. Planning to blame 18-22-year olds for your irresponsibility is NOT ok.
  • Example response: At this point, over 93% of all course sections are being offered/attended remotely. Additionally, we expect all faculty, staff and students to be public health champions regardless of what community they choose to live in.
  • Example complaint: I have a freshman at Northern Arizona University and they required a negative COVID test result before they allowed kids to move on to campus. They also asked that the kids quarantine 14 days before their move in date. I am surprised that OSU did not do this. He moved in on August 6th.
  • Example response: Students who are moving onto campus over the coming weeks will be required to take a COVID-19 test.

As a state agency, OSU is required by law to protect freedom of speech. These guidelines have been advised by the Office of General Counsel. As such, university-affiliated accounts should not block users, delete or hide comments. In cases where comments include personal calls for violence or include hate speech, it may be important to report these to public safety and URM as well as complete a bias incident response form.

Below are categories for the types of negative comments accounts might receive. The OSU institutional accounts cannot block, hide or delete any comments. If comments fall into the extreme or risky categories below please consult with the University Marketing social team to determine what course of action is appropriate, if you are considering deleting or hiding content. Any content that falls into the risky category, reach out to public safety and Steve Clark immediately to help assist with a course of action.

  • Negative: Complaints, negative feedback, spam, disgruntled community members or inappropriate comments.
  • Extreme: Targeted violence and/or calls for malicious action towards members of the OSU community.
  • Risky: Concerning posts, e.g. self-harm, domestic violence, and/or safety concerns.

Examples of Negative Content

  • How about building a healthier and safer community by making all courses remote, lowering the density of people in dorms, providing employees with the option to work remotely. You know, stuff that will actually work because you can't control what people are going to do off campus.
  • Why won’t u let us go to class for this whole year ... remote is garbage and so much less engaging it’s laughable. For full tuition too

Examples of Extreme Content

  • I hate my professor, he ruined my life here is his name, address and office. Let’s break into his house.
  • Hey, this is that student who did XYZ thing - you know what to do, they need a beating.

Examples of Risky Content

  • Remote classes are so hard. I can’t go see any of my friends. We’re all just stuck inside and feeling lonely. Sometimes I feel like I want to quit and not live anymore.
  • Someone making threats of violence either towards specific individuals or groups.

 

No less than two responsible people must have administrative access to each account. This allows for better regulation of content and creates a failsafe if an administrator were to leave the university. If there is no other representative to serve as an administrator, please contact us and we will be happy to fill that spot.

Announcements like university closures, hirings and more will come directly from the university’s main accounts.

It is important to spend time creating original content for your social media accounts, but if you do share external logos, images, videos, articles, messages or user-generated content, be sure to provide appropriate credit to the original creator.

Oregon State employees and affiliates are required to follow NCAA regulations when communicating on social media. Under no circumstance should an employee or account affiliated with Oregon State University interact with prospective student-athletes.

Use good judgment when sharing recognizable images and information of subjects. Do not include confidential information about the university, its staff, students or materials on any social media sites. All recognizable subjects in imagery must sign a model release form.

Please remember that, depending on your affiliation with the university, your online activity may be subject to other Oregon State policies, including but not limited to the following:

  • Student conduct code
  • Human Resources policies, including restrictions on disclosure of confidential or proprietary information
  • Nondiscrimination, harassment and bullying policies
  • Information Security policy
  • Acceptable Use of University Computing Resources