Office of Communications

Communications Policy


Approved by the Florida A&M University Board of Trustees
February 12, 2008

Date of Adoption/Revision:June 7, 2018


I.    Policy Statement and Purpose –


As a public university supported with tax dollars, Florida A&M University strives to be open and responsive to requests for information.

Faculty and staff may give interviews to the media to provide information on matters within their field of expertise, as University affiliates, upon notifying and receiving instruction from the Office of Communications.

The Office of Communications is responsible for generating, distributing and monitoring FAMU & rsquo;s news coverage and promoting its outstanding academic programs, initiatives,important events and the key achievements of its students, faculty and staff.

The Office of Communications is the official University voice to the media and is tasked with establishing and cultivating relationships with journalists, publications and broadcast networks/channels, as well as responding to media inquiries, issuing official statements and announcements and providing guidance and leadership to the FAMU community about relevant media guidelines and best practices.

All University leaders, faculty, staff, partners, vendors and contractors must coordinate with the Office of Communications to develop and distribute news and information about the University and to participate in solicited and unsolicited media interviews or media events.

The Office of Communications must serve as facilitators and approvers of all media interviews and outreach in connection with the University in any form. It is responsible for helping reporters find the best possible source for experts and information about stories. 

The Office of Communications also develops key messages for the University, and through media training, can assist University personnel and stakeholders with anticipating reporters’ questions and properly preparing information for the media and public. 

The Office of Communications manages the University’s official Communicators Network. Each University entity must appoint a representative to this network, in which individuals are trained on best practices, policies, procedures and guidelines for promoting their units and sharing news and information. The network members are responsible for applying their training and sharing information with their unit leaders and colleagues.

Journalists occasionally request interviews with FAMU leaders, faculty, staff and students related to specific news developments. If the request is in response to the Office of Communications contacting the media, it has already identified a University representative to speak and will arrange the interview for the journalist with that individual. However, if a request for an interview is unsolicited, the Office of Communications will need to research the issue and determine who is best to speak effectively about the issue.

When contacted by media, University employees are directed to contact the Office of Communications at 850-599-3413 or at public.relations@famu.edu prior to further communication with a media representative. Public records requests should be directed to publicrecords@famu.edu.

News Conferences/Media Briefings


As a rule and best practice, news conferences and media briefings are reserved for announcing news concerning the University that will have a significant impact on the constituents, external community and future direction of FAMU. It is important that these types of events not be overused or used to announce news that is not significant or approved by the Office of Communications. The Office of Communications must approve all news conferences and media briefings prior to these events being scheduled. The Office must also approve any media actions stemming from any external partnerships, activities, projects or programs that involve the University and/or use the University’s name or likeness.

Prior to releasing sensitive information (for example: the termination of an employee, an ongoing investigation, verifying student information, a legal matter or an allegation of sexual harassment), administrators, faculty, staff, students, affiliates, vendors and volunteers are required to contact the Office of Communications and/or the Office of the General Counsel.

Note: The University does not comment on ongoing investigations, legal or personnel matters.

Occasionally, potentially controversial situations or crises may occur at FAMU. During these times, it is important to take a proactive approach by contacting or meeting with the Office of Communications immediately upon learning of the crisis. It is best to prepare for such instances as early as possible. In instances where there is a question about the legality of releasing information, the Office of Communications and all other campus units receiving media and public information requests must consult with the Office of the General Counsel.

Contact the Office of Communications at 850-599-3413 or public.relations@famu.edu for additional media-related questions or to request message development and training.

a. University Spokesperson
 
The Board of Trustees recognizes that the President is the primary spokesperson for the University, and the chair of the Board of Trustees is the only person authorized to speak for the Board of Trustees.

While the President is the primary spokesperson of the University, the President has designated the chief communicators officer (Office of Communications lead) as the official spokesperson in external matters including weather, safety and health emergencies, legal matters and other crisis situations. This individual also provides a point of contact between media and University resources.

b. News Releases

The Office of Communications approves all news releases to local, regional, national and international media, with the exception of sports-related releases (unless requested by the President), prior to distribution. However, the Department of Athletics should work with the Office of Communications to ensure consistency with the University’s messaging and style guidelines prior to releasing pertinent information to the public and media.

The Office of Communications prepares and approves news releases that range from major stories about achievements by faculty, staff, administrators, students and alumni to unique programs and offerings, in alignment with the University’s mission and strategic priorities and goals. News releases from all University colleges, schools, centers, institutes, departments, offices and the Board of Trustees must be submitted to the Office of Communications for approval before releasing and must align with the University’s policies, strategic plan, presidential priorities, mission and style guidelines. News releases and other items for dissemination to the media or public are approved and distributed by the Office of Communications based on subject and relevance to the University’s brand, mission, strategic goals and priorities.

c. Office of Sports Information

The Office of Sports Information is responsible for publicizing information regarding FAMU’s intercollegiate varsity athletic teams. On behalf of University Athletics, the Office of Sports Information is responsible for maintaining and distributing all publications,news releases, web pages, social media,photography, videography and statistical data about the University's athletic teams and programs. The Office of Sports Information also serves as the department’s contact for the NCAA and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Sports Information Director will ensure compliance with FAMU’s communications policy, style guide and strategic priorities and goals, including athletic marketing and publications.

d. Public Records


Under the Freedom of Information Act and Florida Statute 119.01, the University, as a state entity, abides by the following statement as indicated in Florida law.

“It is the policy of this state that all state, county and municipal records shall be open for personal inspection by any person.”

When University employees are asked to provide documents or information in response to a public records request or Freedom of Information Act request, they must respond quickly and efficiently by first providing the requested files to the Office of Communications or Office of the General Counsel for review and handling in accordance with state and federal law.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.Employees must consult with the Office of Communications and/or the Office of General Counsel before releasing any information or documents that contain student details or private information.

Employees must collect all information and documents that contain what is being requested and submit it to the Office of Communications or the Office of the General Counsel expeditiously for review and processing within three to five (3-5)business days. If more time is needed,please contact the Office of Communications or the Office of the General Counsel for consultation. Failure to respond to such requests within a reasonable time can result in legal repercussions for the University.

Please record and inform the Office of Communications of an estimate of labor (at the lowest hourly rate in your unit), resources (i.e. copies made) and time required to complete the request.A template for fee estimates is available upon request by contacting publicrecords@famu.edu.

All University business conducted by electronic correspondence must be conducted via the FAMU.edu domain to ensure documents and correspondences can easily be accessed when requested. All emails sent to or from employees’FAMU.edu accounts are subject to the Sunshine Laws. Information must also be collected, posted and distributed via University servers such as using Qualtrics for surveys, polls and assessments and Blackboard, FAMU Info, FAMUNews.com, FAMU.edu,iStrike or approved University platforms for internal announcements so that they can be accessed.Use of a private device such as a personal smart phone, laptop or home computer to conduct University-related business could subject that device to inspection in search of the University-related records.

University-affiliated social media accounts are also subject to public records requests. Usernames and passwords to these accounts must be provided to the Office of Communications.

Please note that social media accounts connected to the University must also be archived to ensure they can be retrieved for information requests or legal matters. Deleted social media content must also be stored in an accessible manner. Contact the Office of Communications at 850-599-3413 for tips on how to archive social media accounts as well as University social media guidelines.

Additional information about public records and the Freedom of Information Act requests can be obtained at http://myfloridalegal.com/.

e. Advertising


The Office of Communications must approve,in advance,all advertising from all campus units, which includes but is not limited to print, broadcast, billboard, digital, social media and radio ads, as well as student-recruitment, marketing, informational and fund-raising videos.

This also includes banners and promotional items (T-shirts, pens, bags, etc.) and social media and digital ads and videos(i.e. YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, Captiveyes, etc.). This does not include paid ads for hiring personnel. However, personnel ads should be reviewed for style and grammar before publication within the Human Resources division.

All advertisements, publications, digital and visual marketing must only use University-issued phone numbers, email addresses and Office of Communications/Information Technology Services-approved website links. Websites must be approved by the University’s web council in conjunction with the University webmaster and the Office of Communications.

All campus units and special committees should establish a marketing budget to cover the cost of advertising, marketing and associated printing. All marketing material must be developed in compliance with the University’s mission, strategic plan, style guide and SACSCOC accreditation standards.

f. External Agencies, Businesses and Organizations

External agencies, businesses, organizations, groups, events, etc., who would like to use or produce an item that contains the University’s name or likeness must submit a copy of the advertisement to the Office of Communications for approval. University names, logos and images are the property of the University and may not be altered in any way. Use of a font or art similar to official University marks in order to circumvent the requirements is not allowed.

Advertisements must display the office’s expressed approval before being posted on campus or appearing in University or external/community publications, etc.

Prior to an employee, contractor/vendor, student, volunteer or affiliate shooting video presented on behalf of the University (except for journalism school productions), a script and production timeline must be approved by the Office of Communications before scheduling the shoot. All edited or any raw video must be submitted to and approved by the office before it is disseminated or posted online.

Office of Communications approval must be provided to the University’s procurement, controller and foundation offices if a unit or individual seeks to pay a vendor or individual for communications, media or marketing related work. Violation of these guidelines will result in non-approval by the University to pay or credit these individuals. A form and additional documentation may be required to receive this approval. Employees and others who violate these guidelines may be subject to corrective or cease and desist actions.

Individuals, groups and agencies producing marketing or media-related content or hosting marketing or media-related events on behalf of the University or using the University’s name must first obtain the expressed written approval of the Office of Communications.

Requests for review and approval of advertisements, videos and media content or events should be submitted via the Office of Communications Service Request Form, which is available on the “Communications” page at www.famu.edu.

g. Photographic Services


The University has a full-time photographer and provides photographic services for the campus. Photographic assignments for the University’s programs and activities are also the responsibility of the Office of Communications. University officials and students who desire photographs for University-related activities must receive approval from the of Communications. A request for photographic services form must be completed and returned to the Office of Communications at least three business days before the planned activity.

 


PUBLICATIONS & STYLE POLICY


II. Policy Statement and Purpose

Publications that will be disseminated throughout FAMU’s campuses and externally as well as promotional documents must be reviewed by the Office of Communications to guarantee that all publications representing Florida A&M University demonstrate a consistent message and image. The of Communications will review materials based upon the established printing guidelines. These guidelines also apply to official University websites and social media channels.

All internal and external communications must adhere to the University’s Style, Publication and Media Guide.

Exceptions include publications edited and produced by students, flyers or posters for events funded by student activities fees, internal office correspondence, faculty works, textbooks and materials for classroom use.

Direct Support Organizations using the University’s image, likeness and brand identity must also comply with these guidelines.

A successful identity program is dependent on the cooperation of all members of the University community,therefore, resulting in improved communications. Official publications that offer pertinent information about Florida A&M University, its purpose, objectives, programs of instruction, public services and information for prospective students, faculty and staff are published through the Publications Office in the Office of Communications. These publications include: catalogs, schedules, reports, handbooks, manuals, brochures, recruitment materials, directories and other general information documents.

The Office of Communications is the starting point for all projects produced in the University print shop for an external audience. University Communications is charged with interpretation and control of all institutional publications involving the use of the name,seal and/or logos of the University. This responsibility is carried out primarily through a University Identity Program,which sets editorial style, typography and graphic standards, including the use of the FAMU shield and seal for all publications.

h. Use of Seal
The official University seal is not to be used for general branding, marketing, communications and promotional purposes. It is restricted for use on official documents, such as diplomas, transcripts, legal documents, Board of Trustees reports, resolutions and proclamations, commencement and convocation documents, and official University stationery (i.e. letterhead, business cards). The seal is only released by the Office of Communications and should not be downloaded or copied from the web. The presence of the seal authenticates publications as an official document from Florida A&M University. The Office of Communications must approve the use of the University’s logos and seal.

i. Use of Other University Logos

The University shield, "Excellence With Caring" motto, institutional logos, "Rattler" and "FAMU" may be used in publications requiring a symbol of identity, such as catalogs, handbooks, brochures, programs, flyers, invitations, bookmarks, posters and paraphernalia. Generally,one logo per publication is sufficient. The Office of Communications must be consulted when a University entity decides to design a publication for a particular unit.

j. Request for University Logos

Requests for access or use of the official and other university logos should be made through the Office of Communications. Scanned or modified versions of Florida A&M University logos are in direct violation of University policy.

k. Official FAMU Colors

The official colors of Florida A&M University are orange and green. More specifically, the official orange to use on any material is Pantone Matching System number 158 (PMS 158C). The University uses Pantone Matching System number 357 (PMS 357 C) as its official green.

The specifications above are the standards for all print, video and electronic materials and media. Please see the design and brand guidelines for instructions on the updated official colors and other styles for use on the University’s websites. 

l. University Listing

The acceptable listings for Florida A&M University are in keeping with the national trend of reference to entities or institutions by acronym, which should not be confused with abbreviations.

Acceptable listings:

1. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (formal, used for invitations, letterhead,etc.)
2. Florida A&M University (used with no spaces between A&M)
3. FAMU

Unacceptable listings:

1. Florida A and M University
2. Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University
3. Florida A. and M. University
4. F.A.M.U.
5. A. & M.
6. A & M

(Additional University Style Guidelines found online at FAMU.edu)

m. Off-Campus Printing Jobs

Some larger jobs require that printing be done off-campus. The Office of Communications is ultimately responsible for ensuring that all publications are in line with the guidelines. Therefore, it is wise to consult with the Office of Communications before seeking outside printing advice.

Outside printing jobs require a completed publication request form, specifications form, cost computation worksheet and statement of cost and purpose —and other supporting documents from the Office of Communications.

These forms must be submitted prior to clearance for printing/production. It is suggested that a minimum of three price quotes from selected vendors be requested. The vendor with the lowest bid for the job is normally selected for the contract. To proceed with printing/production, a completed and signed requisition should be submitted to the Office of Communications for clearance and approval.

n. Letterhead, Envelopes and Business Cards

All Florida A&M University letterhead, envelopes and business cards are standardized to provide consistent institutional identity. Once that identity has been established, the Office of Communications is responsible for enforcing the visual identity. A standard format has been established for University letterhead and envelopes. All units of the University must use only the standard format. The Office of Communications will help prepare specifications upon request.
 
i. Letterhead

Letterhead is not to be personalized. Business cards are the appropriate place for such personalized information. The names of departments as they appear on stationery are strictly controlled by the University. Prior approval for changes or additions must be requested through the Office of Communications.

ii. Business Cards

The card includes the individual’s name, title, position, business address, telephone and fax numbers and e-mail address. University personnel who would like to purchase business cards should consult with staff in the Office of Communications for assistance.

o. Required Statements

All publications produced by FAMU, costing in excess of $15,000, which are not working documents (documents used in the normal routine of work including test papers, office forms, general correspondence, etc.) must contain the following statement of cost and purpose:

This public document was promulgated at a total cost of$_________, or $_________ per copy, to (state purpose of the document).

This statement should be displayed in a conspicuous manner, enclosed in a two-point box and should be the same size as the body type of the publication. Suggestions: inside front cover, inside back cover, first page. Also the document should display on either the inside front cover, the first page, the inside back cover or the back cover the following: "FAMU is an Equal Opportunity/Equal Access University."

p. Restrictive Printing

Devices for use in lotteries, raffles or other regulated games of chance will be produced only after appropriate written authorization has been granted and presented. Copyrighted materials need permission from the copyright holder. Clearance is granted through the Office of Communications.

q. Event Planning And Announcement Guidelines
(Please refer to complete guidelines online at famu.edu)

r. Web Style Guide/Policy
(Please refer to complete guidelines online at famu.edu)

s. Editorial Style Guide
(Please refer to complete guidelines online at famu.edu)

t. Licensing And Sales Guide
(Please refer to complete guidelines online at famu.edu)

u. Publications
(Please refer to complete guidelines online at famu.edu)

v. Social Media

(Please refer to complete guidelines online at famu.edu)

w. Brand And Style Guide

(Please refer to complete guidelines online at famu.edu)

x. Photography/Imagery Guide
(Please refer to complete guidelines online at famu.edu)
 
The President shall establish all necessary policies and procedures to implement this policy in an efficient and effective manner.

Contact Info

1601 S. Martin Luther King Blvd.
200 Lee Hall
Tallahassee, Florida 32307

P: 850-599-3413
F: 850-561-2626

E: communications@famu.edu