Web Communications

University Policy 302, Web Communications

Executive Summary: 

This policy sets standards for responsible use of the University website, web page format, accessibility, links to non-University websites, use of the University name and registered marks on the University website, hosting of websites for external entities, University data, and individual web pages on the University website.

I. Policy

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte recognizes the value and potential of the Web as a tool to support and communicate the University’s mission as North Carolina’s urban research institution. Therefore, faculty, staff, students, and academic and administrative units are encouraged to take full advantage of the technology available to sustain that mission.

The UNC Charlotte homepage is intended to welcome visitors and serve as an institutional access point for prospective and current students, employees, alumni, and interested members of the public. It is intended to provide information that addresses University constituents and their needs and interests and to serve as a communication vehicle for introducing and leveraging the UNC Charlotte brand to enhance the University’s standing in higher education.

II. Web Page Standards

A. Definition of University Web Page

A “University web page” is a page created or maintained by or on behalf of the University or an office, department or division of the University environment.

B. Responsible Use

All University web pages must comply with University Policy #307, “Responsible Use of University Computing and Electronic Communication Resources” and other related University policies. Additionally, University web pages should be reviewed at least once per year by the site manager for that web page.

C. Web Page Format

All University web pages:

  • Should be constructed using the University standard content management system (CMS.) Web pages constructed in an alternate CMS due to technical requirements not supported by the University standard content management system must be approved by Marketing Services and must adhere to University branding guidelines.
  • Templates are to be provided online and created and approved through Marketing Services in the Division of University Advancement.
  • Faculty pages are not covered by CMS templates but must use the University logo in accordance with University branding guidelines.
  • Must coordinate the development of new web pages through Marketing Services, Web Communications, and Information and Technology Services (ITS), whether the pages are created in-house or using an approved vendor.
  • Must adhere to the current version of the University’s Web Standards Guide.

Failure to adhere to these formatting requirements may result in the web page’s removal from University servers.

D. Accessibility

UNC Charlotte is required to provide reasonable access to its educational services, programs, and activities in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and North Carolina state law (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 168A-7). Accordingly, University web pages and online instructional material should be accessible to disabled persons where possible, or a reasonable alternative accommodation should be offered. Assistance in designing accessible web pages is available from Marketing Services, Disability Services and ITS.

E. Links to Non-University Websites

Links to non-University websites should be related to the subject matter of the referring page.

Placement of advertising or links to commercial websites on University web pages is generally prohibited. However, the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement or his/her designee has the authority to approve advertising or links to commercial websites if:

  1. A University web page that is core to the mission of the University requires maintenance or resources that exceed University capabilities or internal allocations;
  2. A commercial link is used in an Internet bibliography;
  3. A commercial link constitutes an acknowledgement of funding sources, proprietary technologies, or website developer, but only if used in a manner that does not detract from the educational or administrative purpose of the University web page; such acknowledgements must not constitute and should not imply an endorsement by the University;
  4. A commercial link is deemed appropriate as part of a contractual obligation by the Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs, in consultation with the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement or his/her designee.

Any page linking to a non-University website must include an appropriate disclaimer providing that the University does not endorse or take any responsibility for the content of the external site.

As a general rule, links to non-University websites should open a new tab or browser window whenever possible.

F. Use of University Name and Registered Marks

The University logo, or approved logo sub-brands, on University web pages is appropriate for the use of any University academic or administrative unit. These logos may not be modified in any way. The logos may not be used on an individual’s personal (non-University) web page. University athletic logos may used only by the Department of Athletics or with the express written permission of that department. All logo use questions should be directed to Marketing Services.

G. Hosting Websites for External Entities

Websites for entities such as professional associations, consortiums, or journals that are not University units, University affiliates, or registered student organizations may be hosted on University servers only when the entity has a relationship with the University that supports the University's mission and only upon approval of the Director of Marketing and the University Chief Information Officer. Such a relationship may be demonstrated by one or more of the following circumstances:

  1. The entity is an organization of which the University itself is a member.
  2. The entity is an organization of which a faculty or staff member is a member, and the relevant department chair, director, or vice chancellor approves the hosting as being in support of the University’s mission.
  3. The University has, or enters into, a contractual relationship with the entity for hosting its website.
H. University Data

Units with University web pages that refer to data maintained by another unit should coordinate access and use with the Information Custodian for such data in compliance with University Policy #311, “Data and Information Access and Security.”

Dynamic information (course enrollment, tuition, directory information, etc.) should be retrieved from the appropriate University operational database.

When time-sensitive data is published, the effective term or expiration date of such data should be stated.

I. Single University Web Pages

Authors are solely responsible for the content of single University web pages. However, if the content or appearance violate University Policy #307, “Responsible Use of University Computing and Electronic Communication Resources,” the Code of Student Responsibility, or any other University policy, the University reserves the right to remove the page in question from University servers, discontinue the site manager’s account, and take such other action as may be necessary in its discretion.

III. Web-Based Social Media

Social media sites are powerful communications tools that have a significant impact on organizational and professional reputations. Because social media sites have the capacity to blur the lines between personal voices and institutional voices, UNC Charlotte requires departments and units that desire a University Social Media Account to adhere to the following requirements in order to enhance and protect personal and professional reputations:

  1. “University Social Media Accounts” are defined as social media accounts (including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts or blogs) that are created or maintained by or on behalf of the University or an office, department or division of the University.
  2. Requests for University Social Media Accounts must be submitted in writing to the University’s Web Communications Manager.
  3. University Social Media Accounts must have responsible departmental or unit administrators assigned, and must include the Web Communications Manager as an administrator on the account. Shared access to appropriate user names and passwords is permitted if shared administration is not possible.
  4. University Social Media Accounts must include a disclaimer statement on the site in the form prescribed by the Web Communications Manager, regarding the content and opinions contained on the site.
  5. University Social Media Accounts that are created and abandoned may be removed by the Web Communications Manager in his or her discretion.
  6. All University Social Media Accounts must display the following statement prominently where possible:

“Representatives of a North Carolina state agency communicate via this Website. Consequently no person communicating via this site (whether a state employee or the general public) should have an expectation that any communication on this site is private. All communication on this site may be subject to disclosure under the North Carolina Public Records Act.”

  1. Publicly posted content on a University Social Media Account will not be edited or removed prior to consultation with the Web Communications Manager, who should consult with the Office of Legal Affairs, as needed.
  2. Best practices and guidelines for social media accounts should be considered by all campus users. Marketing Services maintains best practices and guidelines that are available online.

IV. Policy Management

The Chancellor has appointed the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement to administer, interpret, and enforce the standards for the World Wide Web established herein through implementation and management of the centralized web CMS.

Revision History: 
  • Initially approved by the Board of Trustees and authority to revise delegated to the Chancellor, September 27, 2002;
  • Revised by the Chancellor August 29, 2008
  • Revised February 16, 2012

Authority: Chancellor

Responsible Office: University Advancement

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