Approved by: The President
History: Issued              -- October 5, 2022
Revised            --
Last Reviewed -- 
Related Policies: Social Media Policy (University Accounts); Code of Conduct for Staff and Faculty; Copyright Policy; Information Security and Assurance Policy; Marketing/Advertising Policy; Permission to Photograph Policy; Press Releases Policy; Non-Discrimination, Anti-Harassment, and Title IX Compliance Policy; Political Activities Policy; Sexual Offenses Policy (Employees); Speaking to the News Media Policy; Technology Use Policy; Trademark Policy
Additional References: Tips for the Use of Personal Social Media by Faculty and Staff

Policy Owner:

Contact Person:

Vice President for University Communications tel. (202) 319-5600

Vice President for University Communications tel. (202) 319-5600

I. Introduction

The University recognizes that faculty and staff may have personal social media accounts, and may express their personal views through this means of communication. The University does not prohibit the expression of personal views via social media accounts. The University is not responsible for what individuals post on personal social media accounts, and as a general practice will not publicly comment on the content of any such post.

II. Definitions

Social media are websites and other online mechanisms and electronic platforms used for sharing or disseminating information, for networking, or for other forms of social interaction. Examples of social media include, but are not limited to: blogs and other web-based journals; sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat; video and photo sharing services (such as YouTube, Flickr, and Instagram); and online encyclopedias (such as Wikipedia).

Personal social media accounts are accounts that are owned by members of the University community and that do not serve as University-Sponsored social media accounts of The Catholic University of America.

University-Sponsored social media are accounts owned and managed by the University that serve an official purpose of communicating University-approved messages. 

III. Policy

A. Applicability

This policy applies to the use of personal social media accounts by faculty and staff employees of the University. Guidelines for the use of University-sponsored social media accounts are available in the Policy for University-Sponsored Social Media. 

B. University Affiliation

Official communications of Catholic University will always be communicated through University-sponsored social media accounts, and not through personal accounts of any member of the University community.  

Any faculty or staff employee who identifies an affiliation with the University on his or her personal social media account should make clear that the views are their own, and that he or she is not speaking for or in the name of the University. A common practice among individuals using social media is to include a disclaimer. The following language is an example: "The views expressed in this [posting, blog, site, account, etc.] are my own and do not represent the views of The Catholic University of America." This disclaimer is strongly suggested. Making a clear distinction between your personal views and the views of the University is important, and protects the interests of the individual speaker and the University.

C. Use of University Copyrighted or Trademarked Material

The University's approved names, seal, logos and other copyrighted or trademarked material may not be used on personal social media accounts. In addition, faculty and staff roles and titles with the University (e.g. "dean," “coach," "professor"), or the name or abbreviation of the University or its schools, departments or units, may not be used in the monikers or handles of personal accounts. (Examples include @CatholicUPresident, @CUASwimmingCoach, @CUADeanofSchool, @CUAHistoryProf). The Catholic University logo cannot be modified or used for personal endorsements, and the Catholic University name cannot be used to promote a product, cause, political party, or candidate.

D. Individual Responsibility

Each individual user of personal social media accounts is responsible for his or her actions online. Individuals have been held liable for commentary deemed to be proprietary, copyrighted, defamatory, libelous, or obscene.

Because use of personal social media accounts is not in furtherance of an employee’s official job responsibilities, Catholic University will not be liable for and will not indemnify an employee for any liability that results from the employee’s use of personal social media accounts.

Employees must not reveal confidential or proprietary information about Catholic University students, employees, or alumni. Employees must adhere to all applicable University, federal, and NCAA privacy and confidentiality policies, and the University’s Code of Conduct for Faculty and Staff. All employees of Catholic University are subject to FERPA and other laws mandating the nondisclosure of personal information.