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Administration and Operations Manual

1.22 External Relations Policy

Last Revised: 19 March 2013
Refer Questions To: Executive Director, Office of Communications and Public Relations

Scope

This policy applies to Gallaudet University faculty and staff, and in some cases students and their organizations, as they conduct communications with external individuals or organizations in the areas of:
  • Governmental Relations
  • Media and Public Relations
  • International Relations
  • Donor and Alumni Relations
  • Obtaining Sponsorship of On-campus Activities
  • Sponsorship of External Activities
  • Product and Vendor Endorsements

Policy

In applying the following guidelines, Gallaudet University seeks to develop and maintain the greatest level of consistency of messaging in its external communications. To ensure continuing good relations with our external audiences and to promote a positive image of the university among the communities served the university must ensure that appropriate messages are delivered to those external audiences.
Approved by: Gallaudet University Administration

Guidelines

Government Relations

Gallaudet University receives a significant portion of its funding from the federal government. As such, university representatives are in regular contact with members of Congress and their staff and with staff at various federal agencies. Gallaudet employees and students wishing to contact government officials directly on non-university matters may do so; however, the use of university resources such as letterheads and e-mail addresses is prohibited for such communications. Individuals contacting government officials cannot represent themselves as speaking for the university or give the appearance of doing so.

From time to time the governmental relations office may write letters of support or conduct personal visits to support certain initiatives under consideration by Congress or a federal agency.

If members of the campus community would like to suggest an initiative related to outreach with government officials, contact the Executive Director, Program Development.

Media and Public Relations

If a member of the media, newspaper, magazine, television or radio station, web site, blog/vlog, or other agency, makes contact for a comment or to provide information on a university question or an issue that relates to the university, they should be referred to the Office of Communications and Public Relations in order for the inquiry to be assessed and a determination made on the university's level of participation, appropriate response and assistance with a response, as needed.

If the Office of Communications and Public Relations contacts an individual for help as they work on a response to a media request, it is important for the office to receive a response promptly.

Specifically for faculty:

If a member of the news media makes contact for a comment on a topic that is within a university constituent's area of expertise (e.g., regarding academic research or area of academic specialization), a reply should be given immediately. If the constituent has questions about the request and how to respond, the Office of Communications and Public Relations recommends taking the reporter's contact information, deadline for a response, and contact the media after having made contact with the Office of Communications and Public Relations regarding the request.

While it is optional for faculty to contact the Office of Communications and Public Relations before talking with a reporter about an area of expertise, it is imperative that the Office know immediately after a faculty member has spoken with a reporter. The Office of Communications and Public Relations tries to monitor and track the progress of all Gallaudet-related stories to help reporters find sources and gather facts. Knowing with whom a reporter spoke allows the office to track stories, and to provide the reporter with additional information. Also, the Office of Communications and Public Relations maintains an archive of published news stories about Gallaudet.

This verbiage was reviewed by the Faculty Senate in April, 2011, and was distributed by the Provost to Academic Affairs on May 3, 2011.

Social Media

Gallaudet University supports and encourages the use of blogs and social media by university departments/programs. Blogs and other social media are powerful tools that can contribute to a campus culture where discussion and information exchange are valued. The university's goal is to communicate information that is accurate and consistently respectful to the university's strategic goals.

The university's official social media sites are maintained by the Office of Communications and Public Relations. Official sites offer communication that comes directly from an administrative department at the university and is aimed at mass distribution. Distribution channels may include YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Currently, the Office of Communications and Public Relations oversees the Facebook pages for Gallaudet University (the university's official page) and the university's official Twitter account.

Gallaudet has an official public video channel on YouTube, entitled GallaudetVideo, which is managed by Gallaudet Video Services. This channel distributes video-based communications from Gallaudet. Video content planned for distribution through GallaudetVideo should be reviewed by the appropriate departments for accuracy in information, consistency in title and description bars, as well as to maximize the opportunity to promote these videos by cross-posting to Facebook pages, and other social media. This review process should include review by the Office of Communications and Public Relations.

Departments or programs that have a social media presence, or are considering one, should contact the Office of Communications and Public Relations for consultation on whether a department or program should establish a social media presence, as well as other issues such as content generation and maintenance. All information posted on a university department/program blog and/or social networking site must be in compliance with existing university policies and/or guidelines. In addition, any website/page created using the university's name is a representative of Gallaudet University and therefore is subject to the guidelines and branding of the university as established by the Office of Communications and Public Relations.

International Relations

International Relations, within the Office of Development, Alumni Relations, and International Relations, is responsible for international affairs at Gallaudet University and for communicating messages to our international community. International Relations assists the president in building an international presence for Gallaudet. This unit works with the president as the central point of contact for Gallaudet with foreign government officials, embassies, the U.S. Department of State and heads of international corporations.

Any contact made to or from the university with any of the aforementioned entities should occur through International Relations which will follow appropriate protocol, ensuring that the Office of Development, Alumni Relations and International Relations is at all times privy to the communication between Gallaudet and the international entities.

If contacted by an international entity or if there is a question or suggestion for strategic outreach to an international agency, contact the Manager, International Relations Office, in the Office of Development, Alumni Relations and International Relations.

Donor and Alumni Relations

The Office of Development and Alumni Relations is responsible for managing external fundraising efforts beyond federal appropriation, and grants and contracts. This would include outreach to private foundations, corporations, and individual contributors, including alumni.

Suggestions for outreach to a specific donor or a suggestion for a program or project that could attract funding, and individuals who want to use Gallaudet University resources for fundraising activities for organizations or causes other than the university, should be directed to the Executive Director, Development Operations, in the Development Office.

The Office of Alumni Relations is available to help with communication between the university and alumni. Contact the Executive Director, Alumni Relations, for assistance.

Obtaining Sponsorship of On-campus Activities

All requests to outside entities for sponsorship of Gallaudet activities that are made by students, faculty or staff, or their organizations, should be sent to the Development Office for assistance and approval. Since sponsorships by corporate entities for on-campus activities may take many forms, the Office of Development, in collaboration with faculty, staff, and student organizations, has developed guidelines, which are available from the Development Office. For more information, please contact the Executive Director, Development Operations regarding the guidelines.

Sponsorship of External Activities

Gallaudet University and campus organizations are routinely approached to sponsor external events or activities as well as purchase exhibit and booth space at various events and conferences. In order to avoid duplication and to ensure that the university maximizes the public relations value of these sponsorships, all sponsorship requests should be discussed with the Board Liaison/Presidential Support Specialist, in the Office of the President, who will monitor the requests and obtain appropriate approval.

Product and Vendor Endorsements

The university receives a large number of requests for product endorsements and/or participation in promotional efforts from outside vendors with which the university does business. Because of the potential for misunderstandings or misuse, and because of the need to monitor how the university's name is used by outside entities, endorsements of this kind are generally discouraged.

Situations when a product endorsement opportunity may be approved by the university include those with an entity which has an established national or international recognized reputation and must accompany written approval by the Office of Communications and Public Relations.

Use of the Gallaudet logo and/or photographs of identifiable Gallaudet landmarks, buildings, statues, etc., which imply an endorsement of a product or service are not permissible without prior written approval from the Office of Communications and Public Relations.

Faculty members are oftentimes asked to share their opinions on products or services. When giving opinions, faculty should clarify that the opinions are their own and not the official views of the university.

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