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160 Public Statements, Release of Information and Media Guidelines

160.01 Information Dissemination Policy

The New York State Legislature has found that a free society is maintained when government is responsive and responsible to the public, and when the public is aware of governmental actions. The more open a government is with its citizenry, the greater will be the understanding and participation of the public in government.

The State Legislature has declared -- and SUNY College at Brockport is committed firmly to the principle -- that good government is the public's business, and that the public -- individually and collectively and represented by a free news media -- should have unimpaired access to appropriate College records and information.

In furtherance of the foregoing, strict adherence by everyone to the following policy shall be required to insure that only valid and reliable information, data, statistics, as the case may be, will be released to authorized requestors.

  1. State University Central Administration has directed that all questionnaires and requests for statistical data must be institutionally approved before they are either completed or released.
  2. By designation of the President, the Office of Enrollment Management (395-2772) and the Office of Institutional Research (395-5028) are the officially designated points of origin of narrative and statistical information about or pertaining to the College. All requests for such information from or for the use of outside agencies and/or individuals must be channeled through those two offices for official institutional approval.
  3. Reporting to outside agencies and/or individuals by any unit or individual(s) employee(s) within the College other than the two offices specified above is not authorized, should not occur, and will not carry or imply official institutional approval or endorsement.
  4. Enrollment or personnel breakdowns by age, sex, national origin, ethnicity, religious orientation, etc. will be provided only to agencies of the United States government or New York State.
  5. Requests from agencies and/or individuals other than those specified in Item 4, above, will only be responded to after written assurance is received on official letterhead and over the signature of the requestor indicating:
    1. The intended use and audience;
    2. That the information, data and statistics submitted, as the case may be, will be used for statistical summaries only;
    3. That no reports will be issued on the College as a whole, or on individual faculties, departments or units, based upon the information, data or statistics requested;
    4. That the information, data or statistics, as the case may be, will not otherwise be used, published, disseminated or shown to anyone at any time without the prior express written permission of the Director of Affirmative Action.
  6. Requests for information and/or special reports by Faculty Senate officers and committees, BASC, and other College-related organizations from Institutional Research must be submitted in writing. The Vice President for Administrative Services will inform the President and his staff of these requests, if he/she feels it necessary, prior to approving or disapproving the requests. Requests for information and/or special reports from:
    1. The instructor and appropriate President's Staff member or Dean must approve students in writing.
    2. The Vice President for Student Affairs must approve student organizations in writing.
  7. Internal Reports shall be distributed to the President, executive staff, and deans. These individuals shall determine whether they wish to distribute the information further. All requests about these reports received by Institutional Research shall be referred back to the appropriate original recipient who shall decide on additional distribution.
  8. Internal Reports based upon or accompanied by computer printouts shall be distributed to the President, President's Staff, and Deans. Sufficient copies of printouts shall be supplied so that these individuals can distribute the information without unnecessary delay if they consider it appropriate. All requests about these reports shall be referred back to the appropriate original recipient who shall decide on additional distribution.
  9. Institutional Research will inform the appropriate President's Staff member and/or Dean of requests for information and/or special reports by College units.
  10. Aggregate statistical data pertaining to the College (i.e., semester enrollments, number of faculty employed, etc.) are public information and are available upon request from the Office of Institutional Research or via the Executive Information System.
  11. Individual statistical data pertaining to a faculty member are available to that faculty member. However, the individual data on a faculty member (i.e., workload, grade distributions, etc.) may not be released other than to authorized officers of the College.
  12. With respect to data gathered from students, the confidentiality of individual student responses is guaranteed with the administration of surveys used to collect such data. As a result, aggregate data from such surveys is considered public information, while individual information is not made available.
  13. All requests for information, data or statistics, as the case may be, will be handled under the following priority system:
    1. First-order Priorities - All requests for information from agencies of the United States government or from agencies of the New York State that are required for compliance with federal or state laws, codes, rules or regulations.
    2. Second-order Priorities - All requests from SUNY Central Administration and the President of the College, followed in order by requests from the offices of the Vice Presidents, Deans, Department Chairpersons, Faculty Senate, and departmental or Faculty Senate committees.
    3. Third-order Priorities - All requests originating from sources other than those specified in "A" and "B" above.
  14. All information, data, or statistics requested by the media must first be institutionally approved by the Office of Institutional Research and then released only by and through the Office of External Relations.
  15. In any case of question or dispute, no information, data or statistics, as the case may be, will be released until clearance is received from the President of the College.

160.02 Public Statements and News Releases

  1. Any public statement about or emanating from the College carries with it the possibility of benefit or damage to colleagues and to the institution. Therefore, all public statements or news releases having to do with the College should be issued through the Office of Enrollment Management (or its proxy, the Office of Marketing Communications). However, in the event that circumstances prevent such a procedure, the Office of Enrollment Management should be informed as soon as possible of the nature of the statement.
  2. An individual faculty member or employee of the College may publicly address any faculty or student matter, but the individual likewise has an obligation to make clear that the statement is personal and unofficial. The faculty member must also be willing to be mentioned by name in this connection.

160.03 Press Conferences for Visitors

  1. Among the visitors invited to the College are some in whom the public press may have special interest. The general purpose of a press conference for a speaker or other visitor is to minimize the interference of the press representatives with the primary purpose of the visit. A press conference for noteworthy and interesting visitors will also generate favorable exposure for SUNY Brockport within the region.
  2. When there is reason to believe that press interest exists or will develop, the College member responsible for inviting the visitor should consult with the Office of Marketing Communications about arranging a press conference or a series of press interviews. The visitor or an agent should be contacted in advance by the College member responsible for the initial invitation, informed that the College is considering a press conference, and given an opportunity to indicate any preference regarding such an arrangement. If the visitor objects, no press interviews will be scheduled.

160.04 Guidelines for Dealing with News Media

  1. Employees of the College are in occasional contact with news media representatives carrying out their information-gathering tasks. Because the range of information sought in these contacts is so wide, no set of guidelines can cover every possible situation. This statement deals, nevertheless, with some principles and suggested procedures, which are intended to facilitate the free flow of information and to ensure an accurate response to the news media's questions.
  2. The College, as a public-supported institution of higher education, has significant responsibilities of accountability in reporting to the citizens of New York State. In a large part, this reporting process takes place through the news media. The College has an obligation to cooperate with the news media.
  3. The President, as chief administrative officer of the College, is the principal spokesperson for SUNY Brockport. In most cases, he/she has delegated this responsibility to the Office of Enrollment Management.
  4. In dealing with news media, employees should make a clear distinction between their role as a College employee, their role as a recognized authority in a given field and their role as a private citizen.
  5. Inquiries about College-related matters should normally be routed through the Office of Marketing Communications. The Office either responds directly to inquiries, or refers the news media to the appropriate College employee, if that employee is willing to deal with the news media. Whenever possible, the Office will give adequate, prior notice to an office or individual that may be contacted by the news media.
  6. Questions dealing with College policy or with complex college matters involving more than one area should be referred to the Office of Enrollment Management.
  7. News media inquiries should be answered as promptly as possible. Media deadlines are usually very tight. Stories will normally not be held awaiting a specific response.
  8. Suggested Procedures
    1. If the news media should contact you directly and you are in doubt about responding to the subject of inquiry, contact the Office of Marketing Communications for guidance.
    2. Confine your responses to matters about which you have direct knowledge. Passing on information, which "you have heard about," "you understand to be the case," or "you were told by someone who ought to know" can often lead to difficulties.
    3. Decline to answer specific questions, which involve College policy, complex inter-area matters, and questions which cannot be answered with first hand knowledge. The agreement to be interviewed does not imply the obligation to answer every question posed.
    4. When you agree to be interviewed, you are "on the record." To say, "this is off the record," does not take you off the record unless the reporter agrees. The same applies to "not for attribution" and other such screens.
    5. During or immediately after an interview, it is a sound idea to make a few notes on your responses. Another technique to avoid misunderstanding is to ask the reporter to repeat back to you his/her notes and understanding of your comments. If you believe that considerable caution is required, ask the reporter to give you his/her questions. Develop your answers in writing; then make contact with the reporter and read your responses. This is a rather extreme, but secure, method of avoiding misquotation.
    6. When taking part in a radio or television interview, don't let the "live" tape recorder or television camera rush you into responding to a difficult question. If a "dead spot" occurs, that is the reporter's problem. Don't hesitate to decline to answer a question, if you believe it may involve areas already mentioned in these guidelines as inappropriate for you to answer. A simple, "I am not able to respond to that question," or "I don't know," is adequate and to the point.

References: 380.04 Administrative Council Action 5/1/75.

160.05 Policy Guidelines for Department/Program Newsletters

  1. Purpose and Function

    Departmental newsletters are primarily intended for relatively limited circulation to departmental alumni, present and former staff members, and/or student majors as a means of "keeping in touch" with the department/program. As such, they can perform a valuable function in improving and maintaining a positive College/ department "image" among alumni (particularly recent graduates) and improving communication among the various constituencies that the department/program serves.

  2. Content

    Newsletter content should be factual, informative, positive in its outlook, and should be characterized by a generally "up-beat" style. Some of the kinds of stories that are appropriate for inclusion in a newsletter are:

    • News about the department/program by way of improvements in quality, growth, or changes in the curriculum.
    • Achievements of individuals associated with the department/program, research in progress, grants, awards, and other types of recognition.
    • Notes of interest about faculty members, students, or recent graduates of a professional or scholarly nature.
    • Announcements of professional interest to people in the field -- i.e., upcoming calendar events such as workshops, special seminars and speakers on the campus.
    • Recent developments and new literature in the professional interests of the intended recipients.
    • Changes in the status of individuals, especially recent graduates of the department/ program -- new locations, positions, marital status, etc. (NOTE: Some information in this category might be more appropriately published through the Office of Advancement in Kaleidoscope.)
    • Opportunities in the professional field in general, graduate programs (especially those at SUNY Brockport) of interest to present and former students, a long-range outlook, and projected trends in employment in the profession. (NOTE: Specific jobs or career opportunities are not appropriate for inclusion in newsletters; such information is included in publications of the Office of Career Services.)
    • Information about matriculation and the scheduling of courses, such as Summer Session programs offered by the department/program.
    • General information about the College as it relates to or affects the department/program specifically. Unrelated general information about the College is not appropriate in department/program newsletters.
    • Departments should feel free to reprint news from other campus publications (Statements, etc. and Kaleidoscope when relevant.)
    • Printing of full-length article reprints and student papers is not appropriate. Remember: These are newsletters. However, a list of new publishing credits is newsworthy.
  3. Format And Publication Policy

    Departmental newsletter graphics should conform in general to campus publication guidelines, but the Office of Design and Production will permit individual variations with approval. There should be in all department/program newsletters a "similarity of style" without all of them looking exactly alike.

    • A specific individual within the department/program should be assigned the title and responsibility of editor of each newsletter, and should be held accountable for its publication.
    • Newsletters must be produced in a computer format. They are not typeset in Design and Production.
    • Newsletters should be printed on a laser printer for reproduction.
    • All newsletters should be reproduced by the Print Shop or by authorized off-campus printers--not your office copier.
    • Each department/program must absorb all costs of publication and circulation.
  4. Conditions

    In addition to the above, all department/program newsletters are subject to the following conditions as applicable:

    • Must be educated by the Office of Marketing Communications.
    • All newsletter items that refer to alumni must be cleared with the Office of Alumni Relations prior to publication to see if the respective items might better be published in Kaleidoscope, and to verify accuracy of graduating year.
    • A copy of each published newsletter will be forwarded as a standard procedure to the Office of Marketing Communications.
  5. Caveats

    The following are some of the things that newsletters should not attempt to do:

    • Solicit funds for any purpose.
    • Reflect the College condition in general, nor that of any department/program, in a negative way.
    • Release information about students whose names have been suppressed.
      (Revised Spring 2001.)

160.06 Policy Guidelines for Department/Program Videos and CD-ROMs

  1. Purpose And Function

    Department and program videos and CD-ROMs are primarily intended for relatively limited distribution to campus groups and prospective students/counselors/teachers. They can perform a valuable function in improving and maintaining a positive college/department image, as well as to recruit students to individual programs.

  2. Content

    Department/program videos should be factual, informative, and positive in tone, and should be characterized by a generally upbeat style.

    The departmental producer or director should keep in mind that the College always seeks to represent the diversity of its faculty and student body and that diversity should be reflected in any video.

  3. Production Policy

    All department/program videos are subject to the following conditions as applicable:

    1. A specific individual within the department/program should be assigned the title and responsibility of producer of any video or CD-Rom and should be held accountable for its production.
    2. Each department/program must absorb all costs of production and distribution of the video.
    3. Any video that refers to or includes alumni must be cleared with the office of Alumni Relations prior to final production. Remember: Many faculty and staff are alumni.
    4. During production, the Office of Marketing Communications must be involved in the process as follows:
      1. Notify Marketing Communications at the outset that a video project is being undertaken and its purpose.
      2. Obtain approval of the production agency/individual to ensure that professional standards will be maintained. (For example, use of home video equipment for a department/program video will result in a product that is below accepted professional standards.)
      3. Submit the script and/or treatment to Marketing Communications for approval.
      4. Screen rough-cut of the video with Marketing Communication for review, revisions, and approval by department chair/director, Enrollment Management or his proxy.
    5. Before a recruitment-oriented video is produced and distributed, the Vice President for Enrollment Management must prepare a distribution plan for review and approval.


    A duplicate of each produced video or CD-ROM will be forwarded as a standard procedure to the Office of Marketing Communications. In addition, raw footage from the video/CD-ROM must be filed within the department/program offices and made available upon request to other departments/units within the College for use in other videos. A catalog of the raw footage will be furnished to the office of Marketing Communications, which will maintain records of footage available throughout the campus.

  4. Caveats

    The following are some of the things that videos should not attempt to do:

    1. Solicit funds for any purpose.
    2. Duplicate the purposes or the content of other College videos/CD-Roms, except under extraordinary conditions. Prior approval of such exceptions must be obtained from the Office of Marketing Communications.
    3. Reflect the College condition in general, nor that of any department/program, in a negative way.
    4. Release information about students whose names have been suppressed.

160.07 College-wide Marketing Priorities

These priorities have been established and were approved by the President's Staff in Fall 1999 to help all those involved in planning and executing marketing and/or communications initiatives for the College. They are based on the College's mission, which states that the highest priority is student success. Recruitment-related marketing activities are ranked highest -- we must first recruit students before we can retain them. (Also, the College's investment in recruiting, both in terms of staff and fiscal expenditures, warrants the high ranking: It costs four times as much to recruit a student than to retain one. The College must ensure it has the marketing tools it needs to support that investment).

Highest priority (all ranked equally; please allow minimum six weeks for delivery, except for major project *; delivery contingent on work volume of work in process and staff resources.)

Undergraduates recruiting materials (inc. view book, search piece, undergraduate catalogs, visit piece, transfer brochure, departmental recruiting brochures, posters, fact sheets/Career Options sheets [100+], application, Transition program materials, signs, letters, forms)

Graduate recruiting materials (inc. program booklets, application, graduate catalog, view book [if published], recruiting brochures, fact sheets, packet inserts)

  • Non-matriculated student recruitment
  • Summer Session and Winter Session materials/publicity
  • Delta, Honors College, ROTC (recruitment)
  • International Education
  • Recruitment-related Financial Aid materials (inc. forms)
  • Recruitment-related EOP materials
  • Web site editing only
  • News media inquiries
  • Schedule of Classes brochure (2x); Your Right to Know
  • Alumni Survey
  • Maps
  • Letterhead and envelopes

Secondary priority (in order from highest to lowest; please allow minimum 8 weeks for delivery, except for major project *; delivery contingent on work volume of work in process and staff resources)

  1. All hometown publicity for student.
  2. Student-related materials for Bursar, Registration & Records, Academic Advisement, Financial Aid, Career Services, EOP, Student Learning Center (inc. forms, brochures, flyers), Athletics
  3. Athletics, Scholars Day, Honors and Awards Ceremony, Fall Academic Convocation, and Commencement publicity and materials
  4. Student Affairs publicity and materials (inc. FamilyGram, Opening of School Newsletter, and Student Planner Handbook, Student Services Guide, Choices brochure)
  5. Student-related materials/publicity for McNair, CSTEP, SSSP
  6. Certificates for Students' achievements

Tertiary priority (in order from highest to lowest; please allow minimum 10 weeks for delivery, except for major project *; delivery contingent of work volume or work in process and staff resources; may have to be designed and printed off campus at additional cost)

  1. Events promotions (inc. fine arts, guest lectures, Writers Forum, etc.) materials
  2. Kaleidoscope (includes student families)
  3. Statements
  4. Fund-raising materials

Quartenary priority (in order from highest to lowest; please allow minimum
12 weeks for delivery, except for major project *; delivery contingent of work volume or work in process and staff resources; may have to be designed and printed off campus at additional cost)

  1. Annual Report (external to donors)
  2. Web News Bureau
  3. Faculty Experts Guide/faculty publicity
  4. Walking Tour Guide
  5. Alumni publicity and materials

Lowest priority (in order from highest to lowest; please allow minimum 16 weeks for delivery, except for major project *; delivery contingent of work volume or work in process and staff resources; may have to be designed and printed off campus at additional cost)

  1. Business cards and all administrative forms not listed above
  2. Non-student Administrative Services publicity and materials
  3. Other certificates and signs
  4. BASC (occasional media relations)
  5. REOC
  6. Philosophic Exchange
  7. SBDC
  8. Migrant Education
  9. Child Care Center
  10. Sea Grant
  11. Faculty-requested illustrations/photography for research and personal publishing activities
  12. Mybytes.com PR liaison activities

Brochures are not everything: publication alternatives

For a number or reasons, Marketing Communications and Design and Production may not be able to process your project through all the steps from conception to delivery of the printed piece. But, we may be able to help with one or more of the individual steps - writing, editing, design, typesetting, photography, preparation of an electronic file, or binding.

We will help you in finding the needed assistance in preparing the job specifications and preparing them for bidding by the Office of Procurement and Payment Services. Work done outside the College is paid from your area's budget allocation. Sending work outside the College normally occurs when a project has too "tight" a deadline for us to meet, or is larger or more complicated than our in-house facilities can handle.

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