EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2017

SUBJECT: FMU Communications

PURPOSE: FMU University Communications is responsible for communicating the story of Francis Marion University to its various publics—on and off campus—by establishing and increasing awareness of University programs, policies, opportunities, goals, and achievements. The purpose of this document is to establish policies governing official University publications, communication with the mass media, and public service radio-television programs that reflect on the role, scope, mission, stature, and identity of the Pee Dee region’s major university.

FOIA: Francis Marion University favors transparency with the public and media in regard to its operations and activities. Requests for information will be processed expediently, but may be reviewed by University Communications and the University’s General Counsel. Formal FOIA requests should be sent to the Counsel and will be reviewed by Counsel and the VP of Communications. FOIA email: jedwards@fmarion.edu.

GENERAL POLICY: The following statements reflect Francis Marion’s policy related to publications; desktop electronic publishing; letterhead, logo and seal; news service; photography; and electronic media.


To provide service the various departments that constitute the University, and to ensure that printed matter for public distribution reflect the goals and image of this institution, it is desirable that uniform practices be followed in planning, editing, designing, purchasing, and producing such materials.

Therefore, supervision and production of all University publications (catalogs, pamphlets, booklets, brochures, fliers, posters, newsletters and other similar printed matter) shall be centralized in and coordinated by University Communications. This office will determine the need for and purpose of publications and to ensure that they contribute to and reflect favorably on the University.

The department requesting issuance of a publication shall be responsible for providing the necessary funds for production and distribution of the publication unless such funds are included in the University’s publications budget.

The department requesting issuance of a publication shall be responsible for determining that the departmental chairperson, the dean or the Office of the Provost has reviewed and approved the publication for academic content, especially statements about educational policy, program offerings, and/or admission to the University.

Publishing Assistance

Many campus departments have access to desktop electronic publishing systems that can produce camera-ready documents for printing. Prior to printing, the University Communications Office should review desktop publishing documents planned for distribution to off-campus publics of more than 200, both to ensure accurate information, clarity of editing, consistency in style, and pleasing design that projects the University in the best possible light; and to assist outside departments with the intricacies of the printing process.

University Web Site

The Communications Office is responsible for developing the philosophy for the University website, and for directing the style and managing the site’s content. Individual departments, both academic and administration, are responsible for maintaining up-to-date content for their pages, and shall consult with University Communications with regard to design and style. Individual faculty members, and certain entities associated with the University, may maintain their own sites with links to the FMU site. Communications will assist with producing content, managing pages, selecting site management software, and training department personnel to handle site maintenance tasks on their own.

The FMU Website (Internet) is one of the University’s primary marketing and communications tools. It is viewed as an outward-facing site. Given that, it is desirable that the editorial content and design of web pages reflect favorably on the University, and that it is consistent from page to page. The role of Communications is to ensure that this philosophy is carried out as efficiently as possible. The ongoing development of an internal web portal (Intranet) will mean content currently on the website will continue to migrate to the University Intranet.

Letterhead, Logo, and Seal

Design of letterheads (both stationery and envelopes) for any department, division, program, institute, etc., within the University is to follow standard guidelines as determined by the institutional identity program of the University. Communications must review any proposed letterhead prior to its submission to Printing Services for printing.

Use of the University logo and marks must follow standard guidelines of the institutional identity program issued by University Communications in conjunction with the Office of the President. The official name of the University is Francis Marion University and should be used where appropriate.

Words, letters, graphic devices and other indicia associated with Francis Marion University, and presented on the Communications page, are protected against unauthorized use by means of federal and state trade or service mark registration, and/or state statute. Questions regarding the use of Francis Marion indicia should be directed to University Communications or to the University Counsel.

University Seal

Use of the University seal is restricted to more formal application. It is appropriate to use the seal on official and legal documents, diplomas, certificates, flags and official University ceremonial paraphernalia. The seal may never be distorted in any way and should never be used in such a manner that it gives the impression that it is the seal of any division, department or entity within the University.

Media Releases

To provide consistent, accurate information to the mass media, it is essential that Francis Marion maintain a centralized effort to coordinate the flow of information. Uniform procedures must be followed in preparing and releasing statements and news releases so that the media will receive an organized flow of information that is consistent in style, quality and content.

Therefore, the planning, research, writing, and distribution of news stories, sports stories, University statements, public service announcements, feature articles, and other informational materials (including photographs) released to the media should be centralized in and coordinated by University Communications.

All news releases related to official programs of Francis Marion University must be approved in advance by the VP of Communications, in consultation with the president and other appropriate administrators as needed.

This policy is not intended to handicap or restrict faculty and staff from expressing opinions or providing information to media representatives regarding their research and/or areas of expertise. It does apply, however, in regard to questions of University policy. Such questions should be referred to University Communications.

In instances of direct media contact, faculty and staff members may ask to call the reporter back and contact University Communications for advice and counsel prior to consenting to interviews, particularly on sensitive questions. University Communications, and the VP of Communications, in consultation with the president, will designate the appropriate spokesperson for the University on news stories, as needed.

In the event of an emergency, crisis, or controversy, the President may designate a spokesperson for the University. In that event, all media calls regarding that particular situation shall be referred to the spokesperson through University Communications.

Electronic Media

It is desirable that uniform practices be followed in planning, writing, producing and distributing electronic media programs to uniformly reflect the goals and image of Francis Marion University. This includes public service radio and television programs promoting the University as well as all recruiting and promotional radio and television products about the University. Therefore, University Communications should be involved in the planning and distribution of University-produced programs for external audiences.

The department requesting issuance of such broadcast materials shall be responsible for providing the necessary funds for production and distribution of the materials unless such funds are included in the normal Communications budget.

This policy applies only to news, public service, recruiting and promotional radio and television programs originated by the University for internal and external use. Exclusions from this policy are scholarly and instructional audio/visual products and those programs produced by student media.

Questions about these policies may be directed to the VP for Communications at 843.661.1332.

Social Media

It is desirable to present the University in the most positive light possible on all Social Media channels, present and future. To this end, University Communications will manage official Social Media channels for the University, and, when such channels are appropriate, consult with individual departments on Social Media related to their area.

Francis Marion University seeks to maintain a positive and fair-minded tone in all its communications, including Social Media. University Communications is tasked with ensuring this standard is maintained across campus.