Social Media Policy

Summary: Social Media Acceptable Use Policy for Official Andrews University Accounts

The Office of University Communication is responsible for all official Andrews University social media accounts, which are intended to share information with the campus community and all others interested in the life of the University.

The tone and content of electronic communication are informed by the University’s mission and highest priority to prepare its students for lives of learning, leadership and service, along with Andrews University’s broader values as articulated in its Mission Statement.

While the University values open discussion and difference of opinion, we abide by the principle that one need not be disagreeable when disagreeing. We encourage comments that are reasonable and related to the topic being discussed, especially if they are presented in a manner that is constructive, polite and respectful, honoring the dignity of others in the process.

That said, the University reserves the right to remove immediately, and without warning, any post that is contrary to these values and it deems inappropriate, such as:

  • Abusive, bullying, defaming, demeaning, injurious, insulting, lewd, obscene, profane, pornographic, racist, sexually explicit, threatening or vulgar language
  • Comments that in any way might endanger the health or safety of others, particularly a member of the Andrews community
  • Any encouragement or promotion of hatred or violence
  • Personal attacks that disparage another individual
  • Inaccurate, irrelevant or misleading information that is off-topic or self-serving
  • Advertisements, political statements, sales promotions or spam
  • Material in violation of privacy and copyright laws

Account administrators will monitor comments and posted material on Andrews University’s social media accounts in accordance with these criteria. All final decisions about possible removal and future usage rest with the University’s Administration.

Download a PDF of the entire policy here,


At Andrews University, we are committed to teaching, learning and discovery, and we wish to thoughtfully engage in conversation and debate about topics that are relevant in the world today. We recognize the importance of open exchange and collaboration among our many constituents and are committed to upholding the University’s mission to “Seek Knowledge, Affirm Faith and Change the World.”

While maintaining our need to promote and protect Andrews’ reputation across all channels of communication, we at Andrews support the use of social media to connect with students, parents, academic peers, staff, alumni, supporters and colleagues. This guide offers information about how to do so effectively, safely and within University policy.

The Andrews Social Media Policy provides guidance and boundaries for Andrews’ faculty, staff and students who, based on their employment or leadership positions, represent Andrews on social media. This may be via social media accounts created for Andrews University groups, departments, programs, etc., or via personal social media accounts. This policy does not affect other policies of general applicability that might apply to the use of social media. When using social media, employees and students should continue to follow all such policies, including those contained in the Student Handbook, Employment Handbook, and Working Policies.

Social media tools, uses and challenges continue to evolve, and Andrews will continue to monitor our strategies and best practices for using these media. As a result, this policy will continue to evolve, and we will update our best practices for using these media as needed. The Office of University Communication is a resource for the University community for social media needs or questions. If you have suggestions or questions, please email

What is Social Media?

Social media is a term used to describe a variety of web-based platforms, applications and technologies that enable people to socially interact with one another online. Some examples of popular social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vimeo, LinkedIn, Reddit, Vine, blogs and other sites with content generated by both the owner and the audience.

These social media sites help individuals find others with similar interests and interact with them through networking and sharing information and knowledge.

Social media also allows for easy sharing and re-purposing of existing content, thereby expanding the reach of your work and enabling others to share it with their friends and networks.

Social Media Administrators

Administrators of social media sites on behalf of Andrews University must adhere to all University policies, especially:

  • Employee Handbook
  • FERPA/Privacy Policy
  • Information Security
  • Responsible Computing
  • Visual Identity/Branding Guidelines


To ensure that Andrews’ branding standards are upheld, please review the visual standards for logos, colors, fonts and graphic elements. These can be found at

Appropriate Content

All those representing Andrews University in social media are expected to use good judgment about content and to respect privacy laws. Do not include confidential or unauthorized information about the University, its employees or its students.

Acceptable viewer comments may be positive or negative in context to the conversation, regardless of whether it is favorable or unfavorable to Andrews. However, language that is threatening, defamatory, illegal, obscene, infringing of intellectual property rights, invasive of privacy, profane, libelous, harassing, abusive or hateful to any person or entity, or otherwise injurious or objectionable, is unacceptable and shall be removed. Content should also refrain from including personal views on the University, its employees or students.

Users must also refrain from using information and conducting activities that may violate local, state, federal or foreign laws and regulations.

Andrews will not tolerate content that infringes on proprietary information or that is pornographic, libelous, defamatory, harassing or inhospitable to a reasonable work environment.

Neither University Communication nor Administration will pre-screen content, but they do have the right to remove any content from University pages that is considered to violate content policies. If you have any questions or doubts about the appropriateness of information you wish to share or which someone else has shared on your site, contact University Communication at

No Expectation of Privacy

The University’s electronic communications systems, and all the information stored thereon are the property of the University. Employees should have no expectation of privacy whatsoever in any data in any format or any other kind of information or communications transmitted to, received or printed from, or stored or recorded on any of these systems. The University reserves the right to monitor all employee usage of these systems and to intercept and review any data or communication, in any format, using these systems, including but not limited to social media postings and activities. You consent to such monitoring by your acknowledgment of this policy and your use of such assets and systems. The University may store copies of such data or communications for a period of time after they are created, and may delete such copies from time to time without notice. Do not use the University’s electronic communications assets for any matter that you desire to be kept private or confidential.

Professional Versus Personal Use

Be aware that even while posting on your personal page you are a representative of your employer and your employer’s values. Consider including the following phrase when necessary: “This is my personal opinion and not necessarily that of the University.” In general, while we recognize and value diversity of opinions within our University community, please observe principles of impartiality and avoid posts that conflict with the University’s official position on matters. Remember that your posts can have a greater impact and reach than you realize.

There may be appropriate times when employees associate themselves with the University when posting, such as in relation to research projects, but representation of personal opinions on personal social media accounts as being endorsed by the University or any of its organizations is strictly prohibited. You may not use the Andrews name to promote any opinion, product, cause or political candidate.

Balancing both professional and personal social media presences can be challenging, especially if you are active in both arenas. Keep these two presences as separate as possible by keeping content about your personal life on your personal page. Be aware of which account you are posting to in order to prevent embarrassing incidents of inappropriate sharing in the wrong place. Personal use of social media is strongly discouraged during work hours or by means of the University’s electronic communications systems.

Avoid conflict. Avoid publicly discussing controversial topics and politics where emotions can run high and can result in inflammatory or inappropriate discussions. Take it offline, have a private discussion, or simply do not respond. Always show respect for others’ opinions.

Do not air work grievances on social media or use your channels as a sounding board for the problems you see in the University or church. It is always best to seek counsel offline, resolve issues privately and/or direct your employment concerns to Human Resources.

Copyright Guidelines

By posting content to any social media site, you agree that you own or control all of the rights to that content, that your use of the content is protected fair use, that you will not knowingly provide misleading or false information, that you will not post harassing or discriminatory content, and that you indemnify and hold Andrews University harmless from any and all claims, damages, or other harm resulting from any such content.

When using or posting online material that includes direct or paraphrased quotes, thoughts, ideas, photos or videos, always include citations. Provide a link to the original material whenever possible.

Best Practices

Consider Before You Commit

  • Does your department have time to post fresh content to your social media page(s) an appropriate number of times? (In general—Facebook: 3–5 posts per week; Twitter: 1–5 posts per day, scheduled at least one hour apart; Instagram: 3–5 posts per week; YouTube: 2–4 times per month.)
  • Does your department have a few minutes every day to check your pages for comments and/or messages and respond and/or make thoughtful comments on those of others?

If not, reconsider committing to social media at this time. When it comes to the internet, old content=no content.

Everything you do in your role as an Andrews department, including interaction through social media, reflects on the department and on the institution. Remember that anyone posting to your department’s social media page(s) should be professional and respectful and avoid engaging in mean-spirited arguments or debates either on your page(s) or through email/messages. Additionally, all content shall reflect proper English grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Everything you share on the Internet, even within a closed network, is—or could become—public information (including email and instant messaging), and it can be shared globally.

Finally, be honest about who your department is and how you interact with others. Will your department have the time and content to be able to maintain the page(s)?

Account Management

One benefit of utilizing social media is the ability to share information almost instantly with a global audience. Respond quickly to new developments, announcements or emergencies with relevant information. Offering your audience a small amount of accurate information quickly will be more appreciated and valuable than a full report after the event.

Make regular comments on posts to your page(s), always posting as your page, rather than an individual. Also, consider sharing information you find from other sources on campus as well as trusted sources outside of the University.

Not all comments your site receives will be positive. Respond to negative comments professionally and provide additional information that may help resolve the issue as necessary.

As a proactive measure, post a disclaimer on your site stating you reserve the right to remove inappropriate comments. Then, be diligent about removing comments containing vulgar language, those that attack any group or individual and those that are obviously spam.

Note that removing all negative comments is not good practice, as you will soon be seen as censoring your social site. Reserve removals for those that are truly extreme or are spam.

Following is an example of a disclaimer you may adapt for your page(s).

Andrews University welcomes lively discussion on its Facebook page and monitors posts to maintain community standards. Content that contains obscenity or profanity, personal attacks, commercial or sales/promotional material or anything otherwise determined to be inappropriate will be deleted by page administrators. If you see a post or comment that you think would benefit from an official Andrews response, send the information to University Communication at

When faced with a potentially volatile situation or conversation on social media (or other public venues), it is standard University policy to consult with the media communications manager, located in University Communication. They can offer a second opinion and help guide your response to the situation, then help lead if the situation develops into something larger and more difficult to contain and manage. In these situations, please email or call 269-471-3348.

Reviewing social media is essential to becoming a successful producer of social media content. Read conversations on other organizations’ and businesses’ pages to develop and maintain a clear and current understanding of what is relevant and of interest to your audiences.

While at work, limit the time you spend attending to your area’s social media page(s) as directed by your supervisor. We realize you have much to do and sometimes may find it difficult to carve out time to spend posting and responding to your area’s social media platforms. Despite this fact, it is still important that if you have committed to maintaining social media pages, you do so effectively, making time within each day to monitor and manage your page(s).

Andrews University Sites

University Communication manages the University’s main Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube accounts. In addition, Andrews University alumni, athletics, enrollment and many other University offices maintain sites that are specific to their audiences.

*To be a University-approved page, you must follow the guidelines below:

  • Have a department faculty or staff member as an administrator on your page. (This is not for oversight but for security and collaboration.)
  • Confirm URL and page name with the department head and University Communication prior to finalizing
  • Link to in each page’s “about” or “bio” sections

Additional Resources

If you have questions or are looking for training, tips or tricks, contact or call 269-471-3348.

Please also refer to the North American Division Social Media Guidelines and resources at