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Communication with External Media, Policy on

Title: Policy on Communication with External Media
Policy Owner: University Communications
Applies to: Faculty, Staff, and Student Employees
Campus Applicability: All campuses, including UConn Health
Effective Date: May 5, 2017
For More Information, Contact Tysen Kendig, Vice President for Communications
Contact Information: Phone: (860) 486-0871
Official Website: http://communications.uconn.edu/

REASON FOR POLICY

The University of Connecticut (“the University” or “UConn”) needs to be able to communicate accurately, effectively and consistently with a variety of diverse audiences including the media. University Communications is the primary and official liaison to the news media. It is responsible for initiating, developing and maintaining effective, productive and beneficial relations with the news media in communicating University news and in responding to media requests. University Communications is responsible for coordinating official University comment on all matters regarding the institution. This includes both proactive interaction and responses to requests. University Communications is responsible for disseminating and pitching news stories, responding to media inquiries, arranging interviews and visual productions, and handling requests for distribution of information on behalf of the University’s main campus in Storrs, UConn Health and all campus locations and programs.

The purpose of this policy is to gather the University’s existing policies regarding employee communication with external media into one accessible statement while reaffirming the University’s continuing commitment to the principles of academic freedom.  It incorporates policies on three distinct but related situations:

  1. Requests for Official University Position or Response
  2. Requests to Faculty Regarding Subject Matter Expertise
  3. Personal Speech

APPLIES TO

This policy applies to all University employees including administration, faculty, staff and student employees. employees at all campuses including the University’s main campus in Storrs, UConn Health, the regional campuses, and the School of Law. It applies to all employees in all programs wherever located. The policy applies to employees when they are acting in their capacity as employees of the University, including when they are asked questions.

POLICY STATEMENT

  1. Requests for Official University Position or Response

All inquiries seeking an official University response or a statement on behalf of the University should be directed to the University spokesperson within University Communications. All inquiries seeking an official response or statement specific to UConn Health and its clinical and academic areas should be directed to the UConn Health Information Officer.

Authorization to speak on behalf of the University may only be given by the President or the Vice President for Communications. No faculty or staff member may make official statements on behalf of the University without consultation with, and express authorization from, the President or University Communications.

University Communications will coordinate the University response with appropriate members of the University and UConn Health communities.

Any employee who has not been authorized by the President or University Communications to speak to the media in the context of his or her role as a University employee must direct inquiries from the media about the official University comment on all matters regarding the institution to the University spokesperson.

No employee is authorized to speak “off the record” on behalf of the University to media on any matter pertaining to the University.

University employees must adhere to relevant UConn policies as well as all federal, state and local laws and policies regarding the release of information about activities of the University, or its employees, students, volunteers, patients or research subjects, including those that apply to privacy and patient confidentiality such as HIPAA and FERPA.

  1. Requests to Faculty and Staff Regarding Subject Matter Expertise

UConn is proud of its faculty and staff, and their expertise and scholarship in a vast array of subjects and disciplines. Many senior administrators and staff also have expertise. Individual faculty, administrators and staff experts are encouraged to provide subject-specific commentary based on their scholarship in their academic concentration or their expertise in their professional field. This includes athletics coaches and staff on matters related to university athletic contests and team- or program-related matters.

When offices and/or individuals are contacted for their scholarly or professional expertise, they are encouraged and expected to notify University Communications that a media representative has made contact. University Communications facilitates accurate, ethical and timely news coverage of significant programs and the achievements of faculty, administrators, staff, students and alumni. University Communications is available at all times to consult with administrators, faculty and staff about the most effective ways to work with the media.

Any questions that fall outside of a faculty member’s academic interest or expertise should involve consultation with the University spokesperson, who can be a resource in these instances. Questions also may be referred to the University spokesperson for direct handling. Inquiries seeking an official University comment must be directed to the University spokesperson.

If a faculty or staff member is unsure of whether a question or request for comment from the media concerns the faculty or staff member’s area of expertise or seeks an official University position, University Communications must be consulted.

  1. Personal Speech

Nothing in this policy is intended to restrict the freedom of faculty and staff members to engage in their scholarly activities or their personal involvement in community activities. Nothing in this policy is intended to affect individual employees’ rights to express personal opinions on University or non-University actions and policies. Nothing in this policy is intended to restrict faculty or staff members from commenting on matters of public concern implicating an employer’s official dishonesty, deliberately unconstitutional action, other serious wrongdoing or threats to health and safety. When speaking or writing as a citizen, an employee should be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others and should make every effort to indicate that he/she does not speak for the institution.

The University reaffirms its continuing commitment to the principles of academic freedom and its protections as set forth in Article XIV of the Laws and By-Laws of the University of Connecticut and the right to freedom of speech protected by the United States and Connecticut Constitutions.

ENFORCEMENT

Violations of this policy may result in appropriate disciplinary measures in accordance with University Laws and By-Laws, General Rules of Conduct for All University Employees, Office of Student Financial Aid Services – Student Employment Guide, applicable collective bargaining agreements, and any other applicable University policies and procedures.

 

Policy created:   [5/05/2017] (Approved by President’s Cabinet)

HIPAA- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

The University’s Privacy Officer maintains a separate website providing access to HIPAA related resources, including policies, procedures, and forms.

Please note that the resources at hipaa.uconn.edu apply to HIPAA practices on the Storrs and Regional Campuses.  If you are interested in learning more about HIPAA practices at the University of Connecticut Health Center and its affiliates, please visit UConn Health.

Vendor Code of Conduct

Title: Vendor Code of Conduct
Policy Owner: President’s Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility
Applies to: Others
Campus Applicability:  Storrs, and Regional Campuses
Effective Date: January 9, 2013
For More Information, Contact Leslie Langworthy
Contact Information: (860) 486-5898
Official Website: http://www.csr.uconn.edu/

The University of Connecticut (“UConn”) has a longstanding commitment to the protection and advancement of socially responsible practices that reflect respect for fundamental human rights and the dignity of all people. UConn strives to promote basic human rights and appropriate labor standards for all people throughout its supply chain. Promoting these values in concrete practice is the central charge of the President’s Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility (http://csr.uconn.edu/).

UConn is also committed to  building a safe, healthy and sustainable environment through the conservation of natural resources, increasing its use of environmentally responsible products, materials and services (including renewable resources), and preventing pollution and minimizing waste through reduction, reuse and recycling. UConn is proactive about purchasing products that have these environmental attributes or meet recognized environmental standards, when practicable, and buying from entities committed to the support of campus sustainability goals.  The University seeks to partner and contract with vendors that demonstrate a similar commitment to these values. Selected vendors may be required to provide a comprehensive summary report of their corporate social and environmental practices.

Principal Expectations

The principal expectations set forth below reflect the minimal standards UConn’s vendors are required to meet.

Nondiscrimination. It is expected that vendors will not discriminate in hiring, employment, salary, benefits, advancement, discipline, termination or retirement on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, nationality, ethnicity, alienage, age, disability or marital status, and will comply with all federal nondiscrimination laws and state nondiscrimination laws[1], including Chapter 814c of the Connecticut General Statutes (Human Rights and Opportunities), as applicable, and further will provide equal employment opportunity irrespective of such characteristics, including complying, if applicable, with Federal Executive Order 1124b, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining. It is expected that vendors will respect their employees’ rights of free association and collective bargaining, including, if applicable, complying with the National Labor Relations Act, and, if applicable, Chapters 561 and 562 of the Connecticut General Statutes (Labor Relations Act, Labor Disputes) and Chapters 67 and 68 of the Connecticut General Statutes (State Personnel Act, Collective Bargaining for State Employees).

Labor Standard Regarding Wages, Hours, Leaves and Child Labor. It is expected that vendors will respect their employees’ rights regarding minimum and prevailing wages, payment of wages, maximum hours and overtime, legally mandated family, child birth and medical leaves, and return to work thereafter, and limitations on child labor, including, if applicable, the rights set forth in the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act, the Federal Davis-Bacon Act and Chapters 557 and 558 of the Connecticut General Statutes (Employment Regulation, Wages).

Health and Safety. It is expected that vendors will provide safe and healthful working and training environments in order to prevent accidents and injury to health, including reproductive health, arising out of or related to or occurring during the course of the work vendors perform or resulting from the operation of vendors’ facilities. Accordingly, it is expected that vendors and their subcontractors will perform work pursuant to UConn contracts in compliance with, as applicable, the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act and Chapter 571 of the Connecticut General Statutes (Occupational Safety and Health Act).

Forced Labor. It is expected that vendors will not use or purchase supplies or materials that are produced using any illegal form of forced labor.

Harassment or Abuse. It is expected that vendors will treat all employees with dignity and respect, and that no employee will be subjected to any physical, sexual, psychological or verbal abuse or harassment.  It is further expected that vendors will not use or tolerate the use of any form of corporal punishment.

Environmental Compliance. It is expected that vendors will comply with all applicable federal and state environmental laws and Executive Orders, including but not limited to Titles 22a and 25 of the Connecticut General Statutes (Environmental Protection and Water Resources protection) and Executive Order 14 (concerning safe cleaning products and services). UConn expects vendors will employ environmentally responsible practices in the provision of their products and services.

Preferential Standards

The preferential standards set forth below reflect UConn’s core values. UConn will seek to uphold these values by considering them as relevant factors in selecting vendors.

Living Wages. UConn recognizes and affirms that reasonable living wages are vital to ensuring that the essential needs of employees and their families can be met, and that such needs include basic food, shelter, clothing, health care, education and transportation.  UConn seeks to do business with vendors that provide living wages so as to meet these basic needs, and further recognizes that compensation may need to be periodically adjusted to ensure maintenance of such living wages.  Vendors are encouraged to demonstrate that they pay such living wages.

International Human Rights. For UConn, respect for human rights is a core value.  UConn seeks to do business with vendors who do not contribute to or benefit from systemic violations of recognized international human rights and labor standards, as exemplified by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Foreign Law. UConn encourages vendors and vendors’ suppliers operating under foreign law to comply with those foreign laws that address the subject matters of this code, provided such foreign laws are consistent with this code. Vendors and their suppliers operating under foreign law are similarly encouraged to comply with the provisions of this code to the extent they can do so without violating the foreign law(s) they operate under.

Environmental Sustainability. UConn will prefer products and services that conserve resources, save energy and use safer chemicals, such as recycled, recyclable, reusable, energy efficient, carbon-neutral, organic, biodegradable or plant-based, in addition to products that are durable and easily reparable, and that meet relevant certification standards above and beyond those required by law. While UConn is not legally bound to comply with Connecticut General Statutes 4a-67a through 4a-67h concerning environmental sustainability standards in purchasing, it will nevertheless consider vendors’ ability to meet those standards in rendering its purchasing decisions. Vendors are encouraged to demonstrate their commitment to environmental sustainability.

Compliance Procedures

Anyone who believes a vendor doing business with UConn has not complied or is not complying with this code may contact the University’s REPORTLINE at 1-888-685-2637 or https://www.compliance-helpline.com.  The REPORTLINE is operated by a private (non-University) company. No effort is made to identify the person reporting and no trace of the call is performed. Information received is given to the Office of Audit, Compliance and Ethics, who will evaluate the concerns raised and, if necessary, refer the matter to the most appropriate University office for review.

OACE has the authority to investigate such matters, and if warranted, recommend remedial action to the UConn administration.


[1] Wherever this code refers to compliance with federal or state laws, that term includes compliance with any regulations duly promulgated pursuant to such laws.

Policy Created: January 7, 2013 (Approved by the President’s Cabinet)

Revised: July 14, 2015