Human Resources

University Policy on Social Media

Policy No.
UP11/22
Function
Human Resources
Authoring Organisational Unit
Employee Relations and Management Services
Date Approved
15/07/2011 Revised 20/07/2017
Next Review Date
20/07/2019
Approving Body
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor And Registrar

The University of Western Australia

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University Policy on: Social Media

Overtype “Policy Name” with the name of the policy.  This must convey specifically, accurately and succinctly what the policy addresses eg Award of Honours, Study Leave.

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

This policy outlines appropriate participation of University employees in social media technology.

The purpose of this policy is to clarify the boundaries employees are required to understand about private identity within the social media context. There is the need to be mindful of behaviour that can impact on employees’ public roles and the reputation of the University.

While the purpose of this policy is not to prescribe boundaries to an employee’s private identity within the social media context, the inappropriate use of social media, either in a professional or personal capacity, can violate the privacy, breach the security and harm the reputations of other employees, students and/or the University. Such activity may be determined as misconduct or serious misconduct, resulting in possible disciplinary action or termination of employment.

Reference to various University policies, regulations and codes of conduct regarding employee media representations, and use of information technologies, are included for consideration with this policy. Employees need to be aware of relevant policies and codes of conduct relevant to use of computers and networks of the University and social media sites.

Social Media Guidelines for Students have been included as a reference providing guidance around safety, cyber-security and reputation.

This must be in Normal, Policy style.

Provide a brief summary of the reasons for the policy and issues it addresses.  This section is designed to stand alone.  The aim is to provide the reader with enough information to make a decision about whether or not this is the policy they are looking for.  It must not be longer than 200 words.

Example 1

This policy defines the nature and purpose of study leave provisions for academic staff and sets out eligibility criteria and other conditions that apply.

Example 2

This policy seeks to rationalise the award of honours across the University by addressing such issues as: entry standards, course content and structure, supervision, assessment, examination, grades, classifications, benchmarking and the maintenance and provision of documentation relating to these matters.  It is based on resolutions of the Academic Board flowing from the 1999 report of the Honours Working Party.

Definitions:

“Employee” means a person employed by the University.

“Social media” and relevant information technology includes the transmission of text and images by, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Second Life, Wikipedia, LinkedIn, Flickr, Urban Dictionary and YouTube.

“University” means The University of Western Australia.

“Student” means an individual enrolled at the University in one or more units towards a higher education award course or an enabling course, or undertaking units through University Extension other than on an audit only basis.

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Policy statement:

Social media technology is now being used not only for online communities, but also as an alternative for ‘traditional’ business communication. For many people, participation in these forms of communication technologies is an integral aspect of their professional and social lives, which may lead to a blurring of the public face and private identity of employees.

The University recognises that social media is a term which encompasses the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. These activities, and the manner in which information is presented, are dependent upon varied perspectives and the creation of shared meaning as people share their stories and understandings.

Use of Social Media Technologies

The University supports participation in social media technologies, recognising they are:

· used for both work and private use by many employees;

· a valuable vehicle in teaching, learning and assessment processes;

· an effective way to communicate with students;

· to be encouraged  as legitimate texts for study in particular areas of the University;

· a vehicle for easy, unobtrusive creation and strengthening of ties among colleagues; and

· widely used to build and maintain external professional networks, such as LinkedIn.

Participation as a Representative of the University

The authorised use of media forums, including social media, in any capacity on behalf of the University to announce achievements and public comments within an area of expertise, is more comprehensively outlined within Public Affairs’ Media Policy.

Participation as an Individual

The University has a particular concern regarding the ease which professional distance and personal use can be blurred. With the immediacy of the media and false sense of anonymity often constructed through internet communication, employees must be mindful that:

· personal views on employees’ social network spaces can affect perceptions of their professional views if taken in the wrong context;

· personal postings which discuss tertiary education or the University should include disclosure that the author is an employee of the University, and the views expressed are those of the author and not those of the University;

· the news media will always make the link between controversial comments made by a UWA employee and the University;

· appropriate staff-student boundaries can be breached and allegations of misconduct, inappropriate contact with students or inappropriate conduct outside of work hours are a possibility;

· tensions between work colleagues may be exacerbated;

· care must be taken not to share unauthorised or confidential University information;

· not everything on the web is free to copy and care must be taken not to intentionally or unintentionally breach copyright;

· web conversations with friends and colleagues about students, colleagues and/or the University may breach the University’s Code of Conduct; and

· inappropriate postings may result in claims of defamation, discrimination, harassment and invasion of privacy. In any lawsuit, blogs, postings, emails and other digital exchanges may be subject to discovery

· any content or commentary you, or other parties post to University channels must be accurate

· all University channels are monitored for content and commentary compliance with the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Code of Ethics and the Australian Consumer Law and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) social media guidelines

University computers and networks

Access to the University’s electronic systems is granted to employees who agree to comply with conditions included in individual Contracts of Employment and the ITS Conditions of Access to The Administration Network . Appropriate use of the University’s computers, software and online services are comprehensively covered by Information Technology Services Computer and Software Use Regulations and Policies.

· While computers and networks are provided for University purposes, employees are permitted limited personal use, which includes accessing social media sites. Access for personal use is to be managed and discussed within the work area and the “reasonableness test” applied to determine whether or not employees’ personal use of these resources is appropriate and does not interfere with their work.

· Employees must not deliberately access, download, store or send materials of a pornographic, racist, sexist, inflammatory, hateful or abusive nature and must comply with the University’s Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct.

· The University will respect the privacy of individuals’ electronic material (e.g. email, disk files), using University computers and networks, and expects others to do likewise. However, no-one has the right to absolute privacy of material on University IT systems. Users should recognise that there may be occasions when even the most private of their material may become disclosed.

Obligations of Social Media Users

Individual employees of the University are obliged to:

· be responsible for what they write and disseminate;

· respect their audience; and

· respect copyright.

Any activity which represents a failure to meet these obligations may be determined as misconduct or serious misconduct, resulting in disciplinary action including termination of employment. Such action will be taken under the provisions of the relevant staff agreement or employment contract.

Social Media Guidelines for Students

Students are asked to abide by the Social Media Guidelines. The Guidelines provide an overview of social media best practice to ensure students are aware of their obligations and the risk of damaging their reputation when engaging on social channels.

Policy or Procedure?

Policies are statements of the principles1 which govern decision-making.

Procedures are the functional steps used to implement policies.

1 Principles in this context are to be understood as being both broad and detailed.

The policy statement makes clear the intent of the policy.  It must be written in clear, precise and direct language.  Short sentences are preferable.  Any specialist words or acronyms must be defined at the beginning of the statement.  (A guide to writing styles will be available soon.)

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Related forms: N/A

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Policy No:

UP11/22

This is the TRIM record number.  Note: This is not the TRIM file number.  If this is a new policy, apply for the policy number (contact rorett@admin.uwa.edu.au) after the policy has been approved by the relevant position or body and before it is submitted for storing in TRIM.

Approving body or position:

Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor

Include the name of the body or position with responsibility for approving the policy.  This must be one of the following:

Senate

Academic Board/Council

Vice-Chancellor

Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education)

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)

Registrar and Executive Director (Academic Services) Executive Director (Finance and Resources)

Date original policy approved:

15 July 2011

Insert date of approval of original policy.  If this information cannot readily be ascertained insert “as per file”.

Date this version of policy approved:

20 July 2017

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Date policy to be reviewed:

20 July 2019

If the proposing body has not determined a date for review of the policy, a default date of ten years from the date of the latest revision approval will apply.  Enter the appropriate date.

Date this version of procedures approved:

20 July 2017

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TRIM File No:

F37157

Insert the appropriate TRIM file number.  All policies must have a TRIM file for storing information relating to policy development and other related information.  Note this is not the policy number.  Apply for a TRIM file number at http:/intranet.uwa.edu.au/page/38742

Contact position:

Employee Relations

State the name of the position that is to be contacted for any queries regarding the policy, eg University Secretary.  Note: As this will link through to the University’s Contact Directory, the position name must be given exactly as it appears in that directory.

Related Policies or legislation:

“Email Essentials”

UWA Code of Conduct

ITS Conditions of Access to the Administration Network

ITS Computer

Privacy Policy

Managing Misconduct Policy

Legal Services-Copyright

Privacy Act 1988 (Cwlth)

Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cwlth)

Crimes Act 1914 (Cwlth)

Provide details of, and, if appropriate, web links to, other policies, legislation or committee resolutions that relate to the subject of the policy, if known, eg Statute(s), University General Rule(s).  If unsure what these might be, try one or more of the following:

Conduct a search on TRIM.

Make an enquiry to Archives and Records.

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If related policies are stored in University Policy format on the University Policies site, please provide the relevant policy number(s).


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