Office of the VP for Communications

Media and Mass Communication, Policy on

Title: Policy on Media and Mass Communication
Policy Owner: University Communications
Applies to: Faculty, Staff, and Student Employees
Campus Applicability: All Campuses, including UConn Health
Approval Date: December 19, 2023
Effective Date: December 19, 2023
For More Information, Contact: Vice President for Communications
Contact Information: 860-486-0871
Official Website:


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 institution’s primary voice 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 and delivering official University comment on all matters regarding the institution internally and through mainstream and social media. This includes both proactive statements, interactions, 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 institutional and employee communication via mainstream and social media outlets and platforms 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. Official University Position Statements or Responses
  2. Mass Communications Associated with News or Events
  3. Requests to Faculty Regarding Subject Matter Expertise
  4. Personal Speech


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.


  1. Official University Position Statements or Responses

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 spokesperson.

Authorization to speak on behalf of the University may only be given by the President or the Vice President for Communications. No organizational unit, faculty, or staff member may make official position statements on behalf of the University without consultation with, and express authorization from, the President or University Communications. This includes posting of such statements on University-administered and branded website and social media platforms.

University Communications will coordinate any University responses with appropriate members of the University and UConn Health communities, and should be consulted on any potential statements or responses being considered by an organizational unit.

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. Mass Communications Associated with News or Events

The University will only on rare occasions send leadership mass emails and social media messages about news and events in the nation and world. Those rare occasions will include external tragedies or sensitive issues that have become dominant challenges in the daily lives of our communities at large.

Tragedies or concerns that affect individuals or groups unfortunately occur with great frequency. A practice of emailing after every major news issue or event is not practical. Selecting some issues or events and not others is exclusionary and lacks consistency. In addition, mass email is a poor vehicle for processing complex and painful topics, and university stakeholders have different perspectives about how tragedies and impacts to people should be described.

A singular mass message provides only one-way communication to thousands of individuals and is a poor replacement for other modes of communication that allow for better engagement for understanding, empathy and support for those impacted. Such messages also can be seen as lacking action or sincerity, and frequent messages about national and global tragedies can heighten fears or mental stress. They also can de-sensitize audiences to such messages from leadership, or even polarize the community.

Decisions and authorization on sending mass communications regarding such subjects ultimately rest with the President and/or the Vice President for Communications. Guidelines and best practices for engaging the campus community in these situations can be found here.

  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 athletic 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, should not use University media or information technology (email) platforms, 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.


Violations of this policy may result in appropriate disciplinary measures in accordance with University Bylaws, 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: 05/05/2017 (Approved by the President’s Cabinet)
Revisions: 12/19/2023 (Approved by Senior Policy Council and the President)

      Social Media Policy


      Title: Social Media Policy
      Policy Owner: University Communications
      Applies to: Faculty and Staff
      Campus Applicability: All Campuses
      Effective Date: June 15, 2018
      For More Information, Contact Office of University Communications
      Contact Information: (860) 486-3530
      Official Website:

      This policy establishes standards for the use of University-affiliated social media accounts and provides guidelines for differentiating an employee’s personal voice on social media from their professional connection to the University. Social media is a common and important communication tool for the University, as well as its faculty and staff.

      This policy is a guide for professional and civil communications when communicating on social media accounts directly affiliated with the University. Specific guidance on how to establish, monitor and use such accounts can be found on UConn’s Social Media Brand Guidelines.

      In addition, this policy provides guidance on communicating in a professional and civil manner related to personal social media accounts to the extent that such activities are covered by existing University policies or may be construed as the representations or opinions of the University. See UConn’s Policy on Communication with External Media.

      Use of Social Media

      The University fully affirms the rights of its employees to voice their own opinions and otherwise express themselves through their own personal social media accounts. This policy is not intended to and does not restrict an employee’s ability to engage in all forms of lawfully protected speech on social media. Personal use of social media should not interfere with job duties, responsibilities to the University and others affiliated with the University, or co-workers.

      • Personal Disclaimer: To avoid confusion between professional and personal social media activity employees are encouraged to include a statement on personal social media accounts that acknowledges statements and messages made from the account reflect their personal views only, and not those of the University.
      • University Standards for Individuals: When communicating on social media, it is important to act in manner that is consistent with applicable University policies.
      • No University Marks: The University does not authorize individuals to use University logos or trademarks on their social media accounts, therefore no University logos or trademarks should be incorporated into posts on personal social media accounts except as permitted by University policy. See UConn’s Trademark Licensing and Branding Standards.
      • Sharing University News: University faculty and staff are encouraged to repost and share publicly available information about the University on social media. Sharing the original source of the information is preferred, such as press releases, articles on UConn Today, etc. Personal social media accounts should not be used for announcing official University news if not otherwise announced publicly. Formal news announcements should be made by the University.
      • Maintain Confidentiality: Do not post confidential or proprietary information about the University, its students, its alumni, or fellow employees. Use good ethical judgment and follow University policies and federal requirements, such as HIPAA and FERPA.
      • Rights of Others: Content shared on social media must respect the copyright and other intellectual property rights of others, even if the content was shared online by others.
      • Strive for Accuracy: Check the facts before posting them on social media. Review content for grammatical and spelling errors. See UConn’s Editorial Guidelines.
      • Terms of Use: Be aware of terms of service for the social media platforms. The service may be “free” to use, but that use is subject to contractual terms binding on the user.
      • Emergency Notifications: University Communications is the official source of information during emergencies and other major campus events. It is recommended that University faculty and staff share or repost messages from University Communications during these moments to ensure information is communicated accurately and consistently.
      • Basic Tips: Basic tips for using social media are often the most important for avoiding unwanted issues.

      A few helpful reminders include:

      Be Active: Social media should be social. Engaging with others can be rewarding, when done constructively. Sometimes it is better to not engage too.

      Be Respectful: Social media is a unique social environment. Be respectful of others’ views, regardless of how unartfully or inappropriately communicated.

      Think Twice: Social media is a public platform. Consider whether you would make a statement on social media at a conference or to the media before posting.


      This policy is intended to help inform University faculty and staff of their existing responsibilities to use social media in a responsible manner. A failure to conform to the guidelines established by this policy could result in disciplinary action, personal liability or other penalties, particularly where social media is used in a manner that violates University policy, laws regarding the privacy of information, infringes on copyright or the intellectual property rights of others, or that is threatening, harassing or otherwise illegal.

      Additional Notes

      This policy was prepared by University Communications to apply to all forms of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, blogs, YouTube, Flickr, text messages, and other, lesser known platforms. These standards may be updated from time to time. Active users of social media at the University should regularly consult these standards.

      As explained above, this policy is intended to complement existing University policies and guidelines.

      Questions on these standards or the use of social media generally should be directed to University Communications.

      Policy Revised:  November 29, 2018

      Policy Created*: June 18, 2018

      *Approved by the Vice President of Communications