Policies & Best Practices for All Social Media Sites, Including Personal Sites

While developed to assist and inform University employees and students who participate in social media from University facilities, the guidelines in this section should be helpful to anyone using social media.

Individuals are personally and legally responsible for everything that they post online. The same basic policies, standards of behavior, professional expectations and laws relating to employees' and students' interactions with colleagues, students, parents, patients, alumni, donors, or any other individual or group apply on-line as in the real world.   

It is a good rule of thumb that if you would not want your comments posted on a billboard (and attributed to you) for the whole world to see, it is unwise to post them. Consider this before posting to ensure that your comments will not alienate, harm or provoke anyone.   


Protect your identity

Be honest about yourself, but don't provide personal information that others could use against you, or allow identity thieves and other criminals to take advantage of you. It is recommended that you do not list your home address or personal telephone number or work telephone number. 

It is suggested that you use only your personal or, as appropriate, your University e-mail address for contacting you. The privacy implications of social media and the uses of information and content which users post to these sites are still being determined. In many cases, posts are permanent, and publicly accessible through search engines such as Google.   


Be respectful of others

When posting comments, refrain from posting material that is vulgar, obscene, threatening, intimidating, harassing, or a violation of University's policies against discrimination, harassment, or hostility on account of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, veteran status, marital status, genetic information, pregnancy, or gender expression/identity, or other protected class, status, or characteristic.  

As employees and students of Saint Louis University, you should be aware of the University's mission and have an appreciation of the ideals underlying it, including respect for the dignity of all others and the civil and thoughtful discussion of opposing ideas.  

The tone of your comments should be respectful and informative. Personal attacks, online fights, and hostile communications are not condoned. Communications, comments, or content that would not be tolerated on campus will not be tolerated merely because it takes place on social media. Conduct that would be actionable if conducted in the workplace or classroom is similarly actionable if conducted via social media.  

Understand that your contributions to social media sites may be the impetus for heated discussion of opposing ideas. If a blogger or any other online influencer posts a statement with which you disagree, you can voice your opinion, but should not escalate the conversation to a heated argument. Share the passion you feel for your work, talk about your experiences and the successes you have been a part of, and be a good ambassador for Saint Louis University. Your reputation and that of Saint Louis University are best served when you stay above the fray.


Respect University property and resources


While the University has no current intention to ban or block social media from University systems, it is your responsibility to ensure that your social media use does not interfere with your work commitments; your work time is for University-related business. 

Moreover, if you conduct personal social media activity through University equipment or systems, you should have no expectation of privacy with respect to any such postings.  University property and resources are reserved for University-related business in accordance with the University's Information Technology Appropriate Use Policy.  If you have any questions, please refer to the policy which is available at http://www.slu.edu/Documents/its/AUPjune2005.pdf.   


Protect confidential and proprietary information

Do not post confidential or proprietary information about Saint Louis University, its students, their parents, its employees, its donors or its alumni.  Examples of categories of confidential information that must not be revealed include, but are not limited to: student education records, admissions documents, disciplinary proceedings, patient health records, personnel records, personal or institutional financial information, information related to research, proprietary knowledge and intellectual property.   

You must follow all applicable federal privacy regulations including, without limitation, the Health Information Privacy and Portability Act ("HIPPA"), the Family Educational Records Privacy Act ("FERPA"), and the Gramm Leach Bliley Act ("GLB"), and adhere to all University privacy and confidentiality policies.  Employees who share confidential information do so at the risk of disciplinary action or termination. This recommendation does not extend, and specifically excludes, protected activity under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.


Use of University e-mail address

You must utilize a personal e-mail account that is not affiliated with the University as your means of contact when using Social Media. Use of personal e-mail accounts serves to prevent confusion and works to eliminate any misperception that you are speaking on behalf of the University.

Just as you would not use Saint Louis University stationery for a letter to the editor expressing your personal views, do not use Saint Louis University email address in expressing your personal views via social media.  


Use good judgment and think twice before you post.

Users of social media should have no expectations of their posts being private.  Posts may be permanent, discoverable, searchable, and you should expect your comments and posts to social media sites to be copied, forwarded and archived.

Your conversations on-line may be found long after they have been posted using common search engines such as Google, even if you have deleted them.



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