Op1.09 Public Statements
Missouri State University has established this policy, and the attached flowchart, to define who has authority to make public statements on behalf of the university and to delineate a protocol for stakeholders to suggest that the university make a public statement on a particular matter.
- For purposes of this policy, “public statements” are statements, communications, or other materials delivered through the press, delivered through mass or targeted emails (as defined in Op12.02-4 Email Communications), or otherwise delivered through channels intended for broad distribution (e.g., university webpages, social media, mass mailing, etc.). Sharing or endorsing a statement made by another (e.g., retweets) also constitutes making a public statement when delivered as set forth above.
- Faculty senate and individual faculty, staff, students, and administrators are free to make public statements on their own behalf regardless of whether such statements address current events or topics of a divisive or political nature. These statements may include, but are not limited to, social media posts, columns and letters published in a newspaper, and interviews with news media. Individual faculty, staff, students, and administrators are free to include their position and role at the university in these statements (e.g., a byline), however they may not make statements on behalf of the university. An employee may not use the university’s name or logo when marketing goods or services for sale by the employee or a third party without prior approval from the university’s Division of Marketing and Communications (MarCom).
- When addressing current events or topics of a divisive or political nature, colleges,
departments, and units may make a public statement only when:
- The university has centrally made a public statement on the current event or topic and the college’s, department’s, or unit’s statement is consistent with and within the scope of the university’s statement; or
- The statement has been approved by:
- MarCom and
- The dean or vice presidential level administrator over the college, department, or unit.
- When not addressing current events or topics of a divisive or political nature, colleges,
departments, and units are free to make a public statement provided the statement
does not contradict statements or positions made by the university. If a college,
department, or unit receives significant negative feedback about a public statement,
it should immediately seek guidance from MarCom. As a matter of best practice, when making such statements colleges, departments,
and units are encouraged to:
- Review the university’s webpage and social media activity to determine what, if any, statements have been made on the topic.
- Stay apprised of current events and news media to make an appropriate assessment of whether the statement addresses a current event or topic of a divisive or political nature.
- Review communications and resources from relevant organizations and associations to align language of the statement with the generally accepted language in the appropriate industry or discipline.
- Consult with the area of the university that handles matters related to the topic of the statement (e.g., consult with the Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on diversity statements).
- Consult with MarCom for guidance if questions remain about the statement.
- Members of the university community may present current events and topics for MarCom to consider for a public statement by the university by emailing them to MarCom@MissouriState.edu. Once a current event or topic is presented, MarCom will communicate with the president, the university’s Office of General Counsel (if appropriate), and other relevant stakeholders. The president or the president’s designee, in consultation with MarCom, will determine whether a statement is appropriate, and, if appropriate, the content of the statement and a plan to distribute the statement.
- Colleges, departments, and units are encouraged to develop and publish visioning statements, diversity plans, and other materials expressing the college’s, department’s, or unit’s goals, beliefs, and aspirations. These materials are public statements and must comply with this policy, meaning they can be published without central university approval provided they do not contradict statements or positions made by the university and they do not directly address current events or topics of a divisive or political nature. Colleges, departments, and units are encouraged to make the Provost or vice president to whom they report aware of such statements before publication.
- Except as set forth in this policy, the head administrator for the college, department, or unit has the authority to determine whether the college, department, or unit will make a public statement, the content of the statement, and the plan to distribute the statement. The head administrator is encouraged to make the Provost, dean, vice president, or other administrator to whom they report aware of such statements before publication as appropriate. MarCom and the Office of General Counsel are available to provide guidance on these matters, to assist in determining whether a statement is permitted without central administrative approval under this policy, and to facilitate discussions about whether the university should authorize a statement if central approval is required under this policy.
Line of authority
Responsible administrator and office: Division of Marketing and Communications
Contact person in that office: Vice President for Marketing and Communications
Presidential approval: October 25, 2021