Fayetteville Policies and Procedures  325.0

University Communications, Brand and Mass Email Usage

This policy addresses communications standards, practices and protocols for all colleges, schools, academic and administrative units across the University of Arkansas campus with the exception of the Department of Athletics, which operates under its own communication, brand and mass email guidelines.

Communications, Brand and Style Guidelines
The Office of University Relations supports the unified messaging efforts of the University of Arkansas, providing strategic communication guidance and support, brand and style guidelines, and primary news and information. The Office of University Relations ensures compliance with brand and style guidelines for all university affiliates including colleges, schools, units and centers. 

All communications – including digital and printed resources – produced with university funds or funds administered by the university must comply with the university’s communications, brand and style guidelines, and be approved by University Relations before being issued publicly.

Publications, websites and other communication efforts produced by individual campus units that do not meet or comply with university standards will need to be revised or removed. Any associated costs will be at the expense of the unit. 

All university websites must also adhere to Fayetteville Policies and Procedures 225.0, University Web Sites and Online Communications, Fayetteville Policies and Procedures 204.2, Electronic Information and Technology Accessibility, including Website Accessibility, and Fayetteville Policies and Procedures 225.1, Website Privacy. 

News and Information
News.uark.edu is the primary source for university news and information for internal and external audiences. The university’s news content is compiled, edited and produced by the Office of University Relations. Submissions should focus on university news and information or include a summary of a partnership, sponsorship or other related collaboration that provides a clear connection to the university. 

It is the general policy of the Office of University Relations that all material proposed for news.uark.edu, be submitted in writing and must include a name, unit, email and telephone number for a contact person. Anonymous submissions and submissions from entities not affiliated with the university will not be accepted. 

Arkansas News, delivered via email to the entire campus community, provides a daily summary of select university news and information available at news.uark.edu. The University exercises editorial discretion over this content. 

News Releases/Media Distribution
University of Arkansas news releases and media advisories are edited and distributed by the Office of University Relations, including those written by colleges, schools and other units across campus. University Relations holds the database of state, local and national media contacts and coordinates with directors of communication across campus to target appropriate media outlets. The University of Arkansas template with appropriate branding must be used for all news releases and media advisories. Distribution is facilitated through a platform managed by University Relations that allows users to verify that distribution is to official and appropriate media outlets as well as ensuring compliance with anti-spam guidelines. Shadow databases and distribution methods violate spam laws and are not allowed.  

Internal Mass Email
Internal mass email delivery is defined as email delivery to all or a substantial portion of at least one of the three primary campus audiences: students, faculty and/or staff.  The distribution of email messages to mass audiences on campus is limited to exceptionally rare instances. Messages of a noncritical nature or having alternative forms of delivery are not approved for mass email delivery. 

Requests for mass email distribution must be directed to the Office of University Relations for evaluation after initial approval has been obtained by the appropriate supervisor, unit head/department chair, dean/director and vice chancellor. Any potential mass email distribution – other than an emergency notification issued by University of Arkansas Police Department – must be approved in advance by the Office of University Relations using the following evaluation criteria:

  • Promotional announcements for events and meetings, news-of-record, routine procedural or administrative updates and other messages of a noncritical nature are not approved for mass email delivery and should be conveyed via other means, such as Arkansas Newswire and/or an appropriate department, college or unit listserv.
  • Email messages intended for mass distribution must be determined to have a considerable impact upon the vast majority of the intended audience. This impact may pertain to public safety, university operating status, communication of key university policies or legal obligations, or other information deemed to hold significant and/or crucial importance to students, faculty, and staff as a whole.
  • The value of such email use must be balanced against the risk of diluting the attention given to such messages, the desire to avoid contributing to what is considered spam by some recipients and any negative impacts to the consistent promotion of Arkansas Newswire as the primary source for university news and information. 

The Office of University Relations reserves the right to edit all submitted content in accordance with the university’s communications, brand and style guidelines before being published. 

Smaller Group Internal Email
The value and appropriate frequency of email messages sent to those who have asked to join or that have been notified that they will be included as a part of a specific email database or listserv group should be considered on a regular basis. The value and appropriate frequency of these messages must be balanced against the risk of diluting the attention given to such messages and the desire to avoid contributing to what is considered spam by some recipients. 

External Mass Email
External mass email distribution is defined as email delivery to external U of A audiences, to include alumni, donors, parents and friends of the university to include members of university-related newsletters and subscription-based listservs. Emails to prospective students for both credit and non-credit courses and programs are not covered by this policy and must be coordinated through the undergraduate admissions office, Graduate School, Law School or University of Arkansas Online/Global Campus.

 All mass emails to non-student external groups, whether to alumni, donors, parents, university partners or friends of the university must:

  • Be reviewed for university branding and style by and approved through the appropriate college, school or unit Director of Communications.
  • Be in accordance with Fayetteville Policies and Procedures 309.4 on data classification that requires data to be managed by the university in a secure, accurate and reliable manner.
  • Use email addresses and other contact information for alumni, donors, parents and other connected audiences maintained by the Advancement Division of the University of Arkansas, and/or:
    • Append lists – lists of recipients not affiliated with the university such as peer and industry leaders – may be used in conjunction with distribution lists supplied by Advancement. Units will be responsible for maintaining a subscription-based listserv in a secure, accurate and reliable manner and include the option to subscribe or unsubscribe at any time.
  • Be coordinated and distributed through a University-approved mail platform that allows all recipients – those from Advancement lists and append lists of non-connected recipients – to opt out or unsubscribe. Approved platforms are iModules, Constant Contact and Emma. This is required to assist the university in complying with any applicable laws or requirements concerning communications privacy or spam and to improve the effectiveness and impact of messages sent from the university to external audiences by reducing duplication of effort.
    • All unsubscribe requests received through an email platform other than iModules must be reported to the Records Department of the Advancement Division. An excel spreadsheet of unsubscribed emails must be emailed to records.uark.edu including the unsubscribe category.
    • Unofficial, parallel databases of alumni and donors are not permitted.

 The timing of all unit, department, school and college newsletters and any other alumni-focused mass-email should be coordinated with the content distribution calendar maintained by the Arkansas Alumni Association to avoid saturating alumni inboxes with multiple messages at the same time.  A link to the coordinated scheduling can be found at brand.uark.edu. 

Influencer Campaigns
Influencer Campaigns are defined as emails or print pieces distributed to influential external audiences with the goal of raising awareness of the U of A mission to build national reputation, such as peer influencers (leaders at peer institutions), leaders in industry and other influential groups outside of the U of A. All influencer campaigns must be coordinated through UREL (executive director of strategic communications) to ensure that multiple colleges or units are not reaching out to the same groups at the same time. After UREL coordination, all influencer emails must be sent through the official U of A email distribution platform managed by the Arkansas Alumni Association. Print pieces are sent by the individual colleges, schools or units.

Revised April 13, 2020
Reformatted for Web May 15, 2014
Revised January 22, 2010
Revised April 1, 2008
Revised March 1, 2008
Revised November, 1998
March 14, 1990