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Communications Protocol

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Category:
Governance
Audience:
All University Personnel
Issued:
July 29, 2020
Owner:
VP Academic
Approved By:
Board of Governors
Contact:
Director of Communications, 306-790-5950 ext 2600

Introduction

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to define how notification of First Nations University of Canada’s (FNUniv) major announcements and other institutional news are shared internally and externally. In case of a crisis, see the Crisis Communications Plan.

Promotion of FNUniv activities and accomplishments is fundamental in building the University’s reputation as a leading Indigenous Post-Secondary institution among the academic community, the general public, and FNUniv’s major stakeholders.

Media and stakeholder engagement plays an important role in shaping the public’s opinion, the image of FNUniv and an understanding of the University’s unique offerings.

Scope

This policy is designed to address how major announcements and other institutional news are shared in a timely fashion with both internal and external audiences, ensuring that specific information is presented clearly and in a way that is consistent with the corporate identity of the First Nations University of Canada.

Definitions

Audiences

FNUniv internal audiences include but is not necessarily limited to:

  • FNUniv Board of Governors
  • FNUniv Management
  • FNUniv faculty and staff
  • FNUniv students including all students registered in FNUniv classes

FNUniv external audiences include:

  • University of Regina (and its federated colleges) faculty and staff
  • Media
  • FNUniv Alumni Association
  • Parents and community partners
  • Donors, alumni and friends of FNUniv
  • Prospective students and high school guidance counselors
  • General public
  • Municipal, provincial,and federal governments

FNUniv Major Stakeholders

FNUniv major stakeholders are the organisations that have a direct influential relationship with the University and include:

  • FNUniv founding organisation/ First Nation leadership: The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations-Chief and Vice-Chief that holds the Education portfolio, Chiefs of the territory where FNUniv has Campuses or delivers community-based programming
  • FNUniv federated partners: University of Regina, Campion College, and Luther College
  • Funders: Saskatchewan Ministry of Advanced Education, The Federal Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Policy

FNUniv will inform appropriate members of the internal University community first before a story is made public. Sometimes the information will be released internally and externally simultaneously, if timing is of the essence. FNUniv’s internal audience have the right to know how a development or situation might affect them before the external audience and FNUniv’s stakeholders are informed.

Media may sometimes contact various individuals at FNUniv to comment on specific issues, events, or situations. No one, other than the appointed spokespeople for FNUniv,may make statements to the media on behalf of the University without prior approval by either the Chair (on governance matters) or the President (on institutional matters). If contacted by the media, all inquiries are to be directed to the Senior Communications Office.

This policy in no ways interferes with the academic freedom of faculty to speak on matters related to their teaching or research, as defined in the Collective Agreement between FNUniv and the University of Regina Faculty Association (URFA).

FNUniv Spokespeople

Board Chair is the spokesperson for the Board, and will speak on behalf of FNUniv on the following matters:

  • statements on governance affairs
  • inquiries from provincial or federal government or FSIN
  • matters involving the President
  • In the absence of the Chair, the Vice-Chair will act as spokesperson for the Board of Governors.

President is the spokesperson for FNUniv on the following matters:

  • statements on institutional affairs
  • in the absence of the President (or as appropriate), the President may delegate this responsibility to an alternate role

Vice-President Academic:

  • statements on academic affairs

Senior Communications Officer:

  • statements on institutional issues, as directed by either the President or his/her designated alternate

Consequences for Noncompliance

Non-compliance could result in misinformation about FNUniv activities and events being shared. Additionally,non-compliance could also result in public misrepresentation of FNUniv with negative repercussions on reputation management. Employees who speak on behalf of FNUniv without the authority to do so could be disciplined in accordance with their respective collective agreement.

Processes

The FNUniv Communications Department will coordinate all media relations and major institutional marketing activities. If the media contacts a member of the FNUniv staff directly,these calls should be forwarded to the Communications Department who will make appropriate arrangements to respond to the request. If a staff member is unable to reach a member of the Communications Department, they are recommended to use the media log form to record the request and submit to the Communications Department. (See Media Call Log Template)

Major Announcements-Creating and Implementing a Communications Strategy
The Senior, Communications Officer will create a communications strategy for each major announcement. This strategy will vary with each situation. It could be as simple as a discussion with FNUniv Executive members to review and approve audience, timing and key messages. It could also be a written formal plan that is reviewed and signed off by FNUniv Executive. In matters involving the Board, the Chair and Vice-Chair will review and approve the plan. In all instances, careful consideration will be given to audiences and timing, ensuring that stakeholders are informed in a timely fashion. In addition, the President (or his/her delegate) give final approval on all formal FNUniv announcement documents such as media release, notices, and publications.

FNUniv Media Releases and Advisories
The Communications Department will prepare and distribute all information to the media pertaining to FNUniv including press releases and media advisories.

The Communications Department will work with FNUniv executive, management, and personnel, to prepare communications related to their activities. The President will have final approval for all communications related to their work.

When a government partner, funding body or communications agency wishes to prepare information for release to the media related to a FNUniv activity, permission must be pre-authorized by the Communications Department. The approved by the President (or his/her delegate) must approve the final product prior to release. Any material prepared by a government partner or communications agency pertaining to FNUniv activities must follow the FNUniv Brand Use Policy.

FNUniv Public Service Announcements and Other Notices
FNUniv hosts many academic and cultural events that are free and open to the public. The Communications Department will generate posters and/or public service announcements and share them through FNUniv’s many communications channels-from its website, its twitter account, Facebook page, direct email, poster distribution, etc…

FNUniv Publications
For major initiatives, FNUniv may choose to create special publications to share at length about major initiatives be it an annual report or milestone of University achievement. This directive would come from FNUniv executive and be undertaken by the FNUniv Communications Department. FNUniv Executive would provide final sign off approval of the publication as well as provide further direction to distribution of the published document.

Related Information

  • Crisis Communications Plan
  • Media Call Log Template
  • FNUniv Brand Use Policy (under development)
  • FNUniv/URFA Collective Bargaining Agreement
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