Responsibility for policy: Director of Communications and Strategic Engagement
Approving authority: Vice-Chancellor
Last reviewed: January 2016
Next review date: September 2020
- This policy applies to all staff of the University of Waikato.
- This policy applies to engagement with the media through all forms of communication that are, or are likely to be, reported or published in the public arena, including print media, broadcast media and online.
- The purpose of this policy is to set out principles and procedures with respect to staff engagement with the media.
- The following documents set out further information relevant to this policy:
- The University of Waikato is a major public institution and media attention has the potential to enhance, and to detract from, its reputation; it is important, therefore, to manage the University's engagement with the media positively, constructively and professionally.
- The following principles apply with respect to institutional and individual engagement with the media:
- The University is a public institution that is accountable for its actions.
- The University is truthful with the media.
- The University takes a proactive approach in its dealings with the media and seeks to engage with it in an effective, authentic and constructive manner in order to build the University's reputation and to contribute to public debate.
- The University recognises and values the concept of academic freedom, as that concept is defined in section 161 of the Education Act 1989.
- Responsibility for the management of the University's relationship with the media rests with the Director of Communications and Strategic Engagement.
- Where they apply, confidentiality and privacy must be respected.
University engagement with the media
- The University affirms the right of individual staff to engage freely with the media as academic experts, and encourages them to showcase their research and offer expert scholarly commentary on topics within their areas of expertise.
- Staff who engage with the media as academic experts must
- make it clear that their opinions and comments are their own and not on behalf of the University
- where a title is sought, use their academic title (e.g. Professor, Dr) rather than position title (e.g. Pro Vice-Chancellor, Head of School).
- Academic staff must direct any media enquiries about matters outside their area of academic expertise to the appropriate academic expert or to Corporate Communications within Communications and Strategic Engagement.
- Any media enquiries, unless they relate to matters in which staff have specialist academic expertise, must be referred to Corporate Communications within Communications and Strategic Engagement.
- Only the Chancellor may communicate with the media on behalf of the University Council.
- Only the Vice-Chancellor and staff authorised by the Director of Communications and Strategic Engagement may communicate with the media on behalf of the University.
- Staff must report any contact with the media to Corporate Communications within Communications and Strategic Engagement so that any consequent media enquiries or outcomes are managed and monitored in a timely and constructive manner.
- Staff who become aware of a matter that has the potential to become public and have a significant impact on the University's reputation must alert the Director of Communications and Strategic Engagement as soon as practicable.
- Any request by a media photographer or film crew to use the University campus for photography or filming purposes must be referred to Corporate Communications within Communications and Strategic Engagement who will ensure the completion of an appropriate permission request before photography or filming is undertaken.
- Photography or filming by the media is not permitted in the halls of residence.
- Only the Vice-Chancellor and the Director of Communications and Strategic Engagement may speak to or release information to the media about an emergency situation on campus; the Vice-Chancellor, and the Director of Communications and Strategic Engagement may delegate this authority as appropriate.
- In their dealings with the media, staff must act in the best interests of the University at all times in accordance with the Staff Code of Conduct.
- Confidential information must not be disclosed to the media in any circumstances; media requests for information that may be confidential, or otherwise quote the Official Information Act 1982 or the Privacy Act 1993, must be referred to the Director of Communications and Strategic Engagement, who will deal with them in consultation with the In-House Legal Counsel as appropriate.
- Any staff member requested by the media to confirm whether a person is, or has been, enrolled as a student at the University or a resident in the halls of residence, must refer the request to Corporate Communications within Communications and Strategic Engagement, who will deal with it as appropriate.
Responsibility for monitoring compliance
- Staff who are aware of any actual or potential breaches of this policy may report them to the Director of Communications and Strategic Engagement, who will deal with them as appropriate.
- The Director of Communications and Strategic Engagement is responsible for monitoring compliance with this policy, and reporting any breaches to the Vice-Chancellor.
- Breaches of this policy may result in disciplinary action under the Staff Code of Conduct.
The term ‘School’ in this policy includes Faculties and the term ‘Head of School’ includes Deans.