Social Networking Policy

The following policy, mistakenly released by Mercyhurst’s Marketing/Public Relations Department, was recently the subject of a vote at the Faculty Senate meeting. Meghan Corbin, the department director, said it is not under consideration, contrary to the first paragraph of the document.

Click here to view the Merciad article regarding this leaked policy

Social Networking Policy

This social networking policy applies to all students, faculty, staff, administrators or other parties with an interest in Mercyhurst College (Mercyhurst) [parties will collectively be referred to as associates]. This policy is approved by Marketing/Public Relations.

State of social media
Mercyhurst realizes social media, professional networking sites, instant messaging, blog sites, and personal Web sites are all useful technologies. Every associate has an opportunity to express and communicate online in many ways, and Mercyhurst encourages an online presence. Above all else, everyone needs to use good judgment on what material makes its way online.

This policy will set forth employee guidelines for all online communications in reference to Mercyhurst.

Relevant technologies
This policy includes, but is not limited to, the following specific technologies:
Personal blogs (does not include blogs provided by Mercyhurst, see Mercyhurst Blogging Policy for guidelines)
Personal Web sites

Any material presented online in reference to Mercyhurst by any associate is the responsibility of the poster. We encourage all communication to be made in an identifying manner, to establish credibility above all else. Along with clear identification, associates must state that any opinion is yours individually and not a form of official communication from Mercyhurst. When you create a profile on any social media platform, you must include Amanda Flick, web and social media manager, as an administrator on the account.

Topic matter guidelines
Mercyhurst associates are encouraged to use the following guidelines in social networking practices:
• Be relevant to your area of expertise.
• Do not post content that would be a “mystery” to the external audience. Your posts do not do any good if no one can understand them but you.
• Do not be anonymous.
• Maintain professionalism, honesty and respect.
• Apply a good judgment test for every activity related to Mercyhurst: Could you be guilty of leaking information, employee/student data or upcoming announcements? Is it negative commentary regarding Mercyhurst?
• Respect copyright laws and reference/cite sources as necessary. Remember, plagiarism applies online as well.
• The use of Mercyhurst’s logos and colors is defined in the guide posted under Policies and Procedures on the Marketing and Public Relations portion of LakerNet.
• Activity showing good judgment would include statements of fact about Mercyhurst and its programs and activities, facts about already public information, or information on the Mercyhurst Web site.
• Further, if any associate becomes aware of social networking activity that would be deemed distasteful or fail the good judgment test, please contact Amanda Flick, Web and social media manager, at:

Inaccurate or defamatory content
Associates who participate in online communication deemed not to be in the best interest of Mercyhurst will be subject to disciplinary action. This online communication can include but is not limited to:
• Private school information or data leakage.
• Inaccurate, distasteful or defamatory commentary about Mercyhurst or its affiliated schools/organizations.
• Disciplinary action can include termination or other intervention deemed appropriate by administration.
• Mercyhurst Marketing/PR department reserves the legal right to remove content that is defamatory against the school’s logo, brand or trademark.

Off-Limits material
This policy sets forth the following items that are prohibited for social networking:

1. Intellectual property, trade secrets or customer data
Mercyhurst’s intellectual property and student/employee data are strictly forbidden from any online discourse except through mechanisms managed internally by Mercyhurst communications, IT or marketing groups.
2. Financial information
Any online communication regarding the company’s financial data is strictly forbidden except through mechanisms managed internally by Mercyhurst communication, IT or marketing groups.
3. Company-sensitive matters
Any online communication regarding proprietary information such as layoffs, strategic decisions, or other announcements deemed inappropriate for uncoordinated public exchange is forbidden.

Steps to creating a profile on a social media platform
Notify the Marketing/PR Department that you would like to create a profile.
Call Amanda Flick, web and social media manager at 814-824-2095 or e-mail her at

Create a proposal or outline of exactly what the profile will be used for.
This proposal must be submitted to Amanda at the contact information above AND approved before the page can be created. In the proposal, include who will be responsible for updates and their contact information, and a timeline for the posts from launch date to two months out. Also identify the audience that is going to be the primary target group for the profile and exactly how the messages on the profile will be targeted to them. Creating two or three secondary audiences and explanation of how messages will be targeted to them is also encouraged.

Mercyhurst Marketing/PR Dept. reserves the right to deny a proposal for a social media profile if it is determined that the purpose behind creating the profile is not clear. If it appears as though the desire to create a profile stems solely from wanting to create a profile, the request will be denied. Upon resubmission of the proposal after it has been denied, it must be clear that the proposal has been revised according to the Web and Social Media Manager’s recommendations.

Create the profile
Please use College-approved images and fonts where possible. Amanda must also be made an administrator on your profile. If you have any questions about this, please contact Amanda.

Manage the profile
The profile must be updated regularly (two times each week minimum). It will be recommended to the creator of the profile that it be removed if it sits idle for more than two weeks.

For any additional questions, please contact Amanda Flick at 824-2095 or