31.001: External Communications




July 9, 2013

Initiated by:

Renea Morris | Executive Director of University Communications and Marketing

Endorsed by:

Pam Benoit | Executive Vice President and Provost

Approved by:

Roderick J. McDavis | President

Signatures and dates on archival copy
  1. Overview

    Ohio University is dedicated to effective communication with its various audiences, including current and prospective students, parents, and families, as well as alumni and friends through whatever practical means are relevant and available.

    University Communications and Marketing (UCM), a division of the Office of the President, is the organization within Ohio University responsible for all official administration interactions with the news media — broadcast, Internet, and print — including coordination of information relating to general University news or topics requiring an institutional response.

    UCM is the central authority for guiding Ohio University’s external communication and marketing efforts with approved exceptions. UCM provides oversight of the development of creative materials, media and marketing communications projects in all forms across the institution.

    UCM relies on the expertise of academic colleges, departments, planning units, and regional campuses to provide insight and expertise regarding unique market dynamics and target audiences. UCM provides the stewardship, tools, procedures, guidelines, and templates to ensure all units are held accountable and responsible for professionally accepted, unified communications for Ohio University.

    This policy intends to ensure that communication and marketing materials disseminated by Ohio University can be easily identified as official or unofficial University websites, publications, or messages.

  2. Questions from the News Media

    Questions from news media that require an institutional response and relate to a University policy, position, or stance should be forwarded to UCM. In turn, UCM will work with the appropriate senior administrator to frame the response and determine who would be the most appropriate and effective spokesperson in a manner that avoids disruption of university activities and protects student privacy. In matters related to an individual's area of expertise or specialty, UCM should be made aware of the interview for tracking purposes.

    Additional information about the faculty policy on news releases and press conferences can be found in the Faculty Handbook, Section I.C.

  3. News Releases

    All news releases must be coordinated through UCM, with approved exceptions, to assure accurate, consistent and timely delivery of the institution's communication, and to avoid undue competition for media attention.

  4. News Conferences

    UCM will take the lead role in arranging a news conference, including making the decision as to whether or not a news conference is warranted. This will help ensure that news media are contacted and that the time and place of the news conference will encourage the best possible news coverage.

  5. Crisis Communications

    At the time of any University emergency, all official statements, announcements, or interviews relating to that emergency should be coordinated through UCM. A person will be designated as the spokesperson for media inquiries. For imminent threats, the Ohio University Police Department will activate the appropriate notifications to the campus community. Approval will be obtained, in advance, from the appropriate university officials, for those messages concerning campus emergencies that do not require urgent or immediate notification. UCM is responsible for deploying additional notifications to the campus community as rapidly as possible following initial notifications.

  6. Social Media

    Social media accounts associated with the University should be registered with UCM to ensure inclusion in the University’s social media directories, to protect the brand, to avoid duplication of efforts and to support university-wide marketing efforts.

    More comprehensive guidelines are found in UCM’s Social Media Guidelines.

  7. Promotion and Protection of the Brand

    All marketing and promotional materials, including web-based communications must adhere to University brand standards, which include instructions and tools for developing websites, printed and other web-based communication and marketing materials.

    If there are questions about whether or not materials are in compliance with established brand guidelines, UCM should be consulted to review promotional materials, including those intended for advertising purposes.

    UCM will provide counsel by sharing marketing expertise and services to enhance the University's national and international reputation with photo images, market research, planning, guidelines, sponsorship guidance, consultation and collaboration. In situations where UCM does not have the resources or expertise, they will help identify needed resources.

    UCM will also provide a preferred vendor list for graphic design and other marketing communications services for academic colleges, departments, planning units, and regional campuses. These lists can help ensure that the University is in compliance with requirements for requests for proposals as well as facilitate a more streamlined process for procuring marketing communication services.

  8. Campus Communicators

    Campus Communicators, assigned by colleges, planning units, or regional campuses, will serve as the initial point of contact for the local news media and will represent that college, planning unit, or campus to the surrounding community, in consultation with UCM. Campus Communicators shall be responsible for handling day-to-day public relations matters, including calls from the media as well as unsolicited media inquiries for research experts. Campus Communicators should report all media contacts that have potentially negative or adverse implications for the University to their supervisors and UCM.


Proposed revisions of this policy should be reviewed by:

  1. Vice Presidents

  2. Chief Information Officer

  3. Deans and Executive Deans

  4. Chairs and Directors

  5. Faculty Senate

  6. Administrative Senate

  7. Chief of Staff and Special Assistant to the President