Policy Number: 602

Policy: Media Relations

Date Adopted: 08/01

Revision Date: 09/05, 08/07

References:

Approved By: George M. Dennison, President


The University of Montana encourages an open exchange of ideas and seeks to ensure the public complete information about the institution. Recognizing an essential element of open dialogue in the need for accurate communication, the University has established these media guidelines.

The President will serve as the official spokesperson for the University regarding significant matters of policy and public interest. In the absence of the President, the University Executive Vice President will become the spokesperson. Depending on specific issues, the President, University Executive Vice President, or Director of University Relations may designate another University administrator as a spokesperson on a specific issue.

University Relations prepares and distributes all news releases and announcements, except those for Intercollegiate Athletics, and distributes them to the media in a timely manner. UM employees should not distribute news releases on their own. The Sports Information Office of Intercollegiate Athletics prepares and distributes press releases for Athletics, after consultation with University Relations.

The President -- or the University Executive Vice President or Director of University Relations in the absence of the President -- approves all press conferences, except for those relating to Intercollegiate Athletics and approved by the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. University Relations coordinates all press conferences, including those in Athletics.

Employees should notify University Relations immediately about positive or negative occurrences or issues likely to rise to the level of a news story. Employees receiving inquiries from media regarding issues of a controversial or sensitive nature should refer inquiries to the Director of University Relations.

In the event of a crisis or serious incident, the Director of University Relations will work with the campus Crisis Management Team, serving as liaison to the media. In such circumstances, campus employees should refer all media calls to the Director of University Relations.

University of Montana employees have the right and responsibility to answer accurately those questions posed by the media about matters of public information. In that regard, faculty and staff should respond promptly and responsibly to media requests regarding their research, scholarship, teaching, and/or professional expertise. After doing so, faculty and staff should inform University Relations as soon as possible of the interview to assist campus media specialists in determining appropriate next steps.

Personnel records and proceedings and student records and health care information remain confidential as prescribed by law, and thus are not subject to public disclosure. Employees should direct all questions about confidentiality of information to the Director of University Relations, who will consult University Legal Counsel for expert advice.

No Available Procedure