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Guidelines for Social Media

Social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, and others, are valuable platforms for telling the New School story and celebrating our community.

These guidelines below are for staff who manage or oversee college, department, student life, and other university-branded social media accounts on behalf of The New School. (For guidelines on personal social media usage, please refer to the HR policy)

  • Use university social media channels to tell the New School story by showcasing our vibrant community, supporting our academic mission, and providing a space for individual connection.
  • Create welcoming and inclusive content that represents our community members and is inviting to potential students, faculty, and friends of the university.
  • Act as a resource for students, staff, and faculty seeking information or support.
  • Maintain the safety of our online communities by removing hate speech, violent rhetoric, bullying, harassment, or other violations of the university codes of conduct.
  • Avoid using university channels or resources to further personal or political viewpoints or imply a university position on local, national, or global issues that has not already been established by leadership.

For more how-to guides and best practices on social media content creation, visit M&C Tools and Training.

Academic Freedom and Social Media Content

Social media is naturally a place where people seek to have difficult conversations about many topics, including current events. While the university supports academic freedom and the full expression of ideas, including those which may be sensitive or confrontational, New School social media accounts should be first and foremost welcoming and inclusive spaces for all community members.

Because social media platforms are public, and anyone inside or outside the community has the opportunity to comment without respect to university Codes of Conduct, we must reduce the opportunities for harm or harassment. This may mean, at times, moderating more assertively or removing content that creates those opportunities. These decisions are made not to reduce academic freedom or freedom of expression, but with a commitment to maintain a community environment that is free from harassment and harm.

Political Advocacy and Organizing

It is especially prohibited to advocate for or against political candidates using university channels or resources. As a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, the university is absolutely prohibited from participating or intervening, directly or indirectly, in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office (federal, state, or local). This includes activity on social media channels owned or managed by the university.

Intellectual Property

At The New School, we respect the work of other artists and creatives and do not use their material without proper attribution and licensing. All content—whether photo, video, graphic, or written—must comply with legal policies of The New School.

Before uploading content anywhere it can be publicly viewable, remember that many social media platforms scan content automatically for copyrighted material. The platform may red-flag the post, add advertising, or remove content if any infringement is detected. Penalties could also include legal and financial action against the university or termination of the account.

To avoid these possibilities, please work with the faculty, students, event coordinators, and/or production companies that are producing your content to make sure that all third-party materials are properly licensed. Be especially careful with performances that include music or video not owned by the university itself or shared with The New School by a student or faculty member who has provided the appropriate release documentation.

Student-Generated Content and Takeovers

The New School celebrates every student and often showcases their achievements and experiences. Official university channels must always follow a set of rules when students share content they’ve made:

  • Artwork, performances, or other student-created content must have documented consent to be used in any official social media channel.
    • If this material will be used for paid advertisement, the consent MUST be written and releases kept on file.
    • Artwork or creative projects by students must be credited, first with their full name, program and graduation year (for example, Jane Doe, MFA Fashion Design and Society, ‘24), as well as student’s social media handles.
  • However, content produced by student workers as part of their official job duties, when those job descriptions include social media content generation, is considered intellectual property of the university.
  • When students are doing a “social media takeover” of a university channel, whether they are paid student workers or volunteers, content must follow all the guidelines stated in this document and meet requirements set forth by the university’s handbook.
    • Students may share their opinions but cannot use university platforms or resources to advocate or organize in any way that violates university policies, particularly those with respect to our tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status.
  • During student takeovers, each post (video, photo, story, and/or caption) should be reviewed by the university staff member in charge of the official account with several days' notice before posting.
    • If there are any concerns about the content not meeting university guidelines, or that the content touches on sensitive political subjects or current events, please reach out to the M&C social team for a secondary review prior to posting.
  • During takeovers, full-time staff should handle community moderation of comments and DMs, according to the Community Guidelines established here. Students who are doing the takeover should not moderate responses on their own content.

Moderation and Community Guidelines

The New School does not tolerate hate speech, bullying, harassment, or attacks on individuals on the basis of their race, gender, age, religion, nationality, ethnicity, sexuality, appearance, or other protected characteristics. This is also true on social media, and comments that fall into this category or are otherwise in violation of Title IX policies (see below) should and will be removed. Criticisms of the university are not typically deleted, unless they also violate the community guidelines.

Managers should keep these guidelines in mind when planning content or responding to comments and DMs:

  • Maintain the safety of our online communities by removing hate speech, violent rhetoric, or other violations of the university codes of conduct.
  • Act as a resource for students, staff, and faculty seeking support.
  • Avoid making definitive statements or posts that would imply university alignment with political candidates or partisan platforms.
    • It is, however, appropriate to share New School-sponsored or hosted opportunities for the community that may relate to political issues, such as events, academic opportunities, and classes.
  • Political commentary in comments does not always require removal, but if it is aggressive to other users or includes hate speech, it should be deleted. Some of these scenarios may be more complicated than others, so please don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance moderating.
  • Bot activity or spam: If you see an uptick in repetitive comments from the same account(s) across multiple posts, you may be dealing with a bot. You should remove those comments and block those accounts. Same goes for obvious spam.

When a comment is deleted, it’s always good policy to reply to the person you’re deleting with a justification before removing it, so they get a notification. You can also post this as a comment, using language like “We don’t delete comments unless they violate our community guidelines against hate speech, bullying, harassment, or attacks on individuals on the basis of their race, gender, age, religion, nationality, ethnicity, sexuality, appearance, or other protected characteristics. We will remove those comments.”

If a comment thread is getting out of control, it is acceptable to close comments on a particular post.

Title IX

The New School is committed to creating and sustaining an environment where students, faculty and staff can study, work and thrive unhampered by discrimination or harassment. The University strives to maintain a welcoming and collegial environment for employees, students, guests and visitors, who are expected to treat each other with respect and professionalism. The University will not tolerate discrimination or harassment based on an individual’s race, creed, color, national origin, sex, gender, gender identity or expression, age, mental or physical disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, genetic predisposition or carrier status, religion, pregnancy, veteran status, marital or partnership status, caregiver status or any other basis protected by applicable local, state or federal laws. Nor does the University tolerate unprofessional or bullying behavior among members of the campus community.

To see the full policy, review this document.

Threats of Violence or Illegal Activity

If you see a comment that threatens violence to a named or unnamed member of The New School community, threatens illegal activity done on campus or to campus buildings, or threatens self harm, please follow these steps:

  1. Take a screenshot of the comment that includes the username or handle. Save the screenshot in a folder.
  2. Note the time that you discovered the comment and the time that it would have been posted.
  3. Share this information directly and immediately with the Director of Campus Safety.
  4. Remove the comment.

Crisis Events and Emergency Protocols

If there is an immediate emergency that affects or threatens our campus community, refer to Emergency Communications Protocols or reach out to M&C.

Other events may impact the community, such as foreign conflict, natural disasters, or internal disagreements, but are not an immediate threat. In those cases, further guidance on posting will be provided by the central university social media team in M&C, with as much speed as possible. This ensures that all public-facing New School-branded accounts are consistent in messaging, community support, and moderation.

In these cases, additional documentation may be provided with specific information about:

  • Comments or DMs that may need moderation or response
  • Any additional considerations to be made prior to posting
  • Critical contact information for resources
  • Guidance on when and how to share leadership messaging

For events and issues that have not been addressed by leadership and/or when resources are not shared by Student Success, it is likely that the guidance will be to continue posting content as usual.

The university will remove any posts on New School accounts which are not in compliance with these guidelines.

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