Social Media

Section: CADM-304
Approved By: Dr. Ivan Harrell, 12/10/20
Last Review: 12/8/20
Last Revision: 12/10/20
Prior Revisions: n/a
Initial Adoption: 10/20/20

Review social media guidelines.


This policy is intended to provide guidance regarding the use of official TCC (referred as the College) social media accounts that are operated by members of the College.

The College owns any social media accounts and content associated with the College (excluding shared content). Per the guidance of the Vice President of College Advancement, the Marketing and Communications Department (referred as the Department) manages and operates all official college-wide social media accounts. The Department has the authority to take action and follow a prescribed process if a user does not follow this policy’s guidelines and terms of use.


Tacoma Community College encourages the use of social media to connect and inform our audiences and to build a thriving environment where our audiences can freely share information with one another. Social media sites are powerful and important vehicles to share information and spur discussions about TCC events, accolades, issues and people; and it is an important platform to enforce our stance for equity, diversity and inclusion and our college’s mission, vision and values. There are ethical, professional, legal, personnel and interpersonal risks associated with the use of TCC’s social media accounts. This policy’s scope intends to outline these risks and provide guidelines for appropriate social media usage. All users are expected to adhere to each social media platform’s own terms of service. All TCC policies, as well as state and federal laws apply to online activities.

To Whom Does This Policy Apply

This policy applies to all employees including faculty, staff, students, and volunteers.


Acceptable Use Policy Sec. IV ADSV-500
Code of Ethics – Sec. IV ADSV-402-P
Code of Student Conduct – Chapter 132V-121 WAC
Copyright Policy – US Copyright Law (Title 17)
De Minimis – RCW.42.52 160 (3); WAC 292-110-010 (3)
Information Technology Security Policy – Sec. III ADSV 504
Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Grievance Procedure – Sec. II STSV-219
Privacy Policy


Content Any written or visual communication produced by the College. This could also include communications not produced by the College, but shared by the College.

Social Media This refers to computer-based technology that facilitates the communication of ideas, thoughts, and information through the building of virtual networks and communities between the College and others.

TCC social media account This is the official representation of the College using an online social media account that represents official TCC business.

User This is any person who is and who is not associated with the College and interacts with College-owned social media accounts.


Prohibitive Use of TCC Social Media Accounts

1. Under this policy, the following is not allowed on any TCC social media accounts and will be hidden from public view:

  • 1.1. Work-related information that may compromise TCC’s business practices, student privacy and security, or organizational security (see Information Technology Security Policy);
  • 1.2. Student-related information that may compromise a student’s privacy or violates FERPA (see Privacy Policy);
  • 1.3. Derogatory, discriminatory or inflammatory remarks about an individual or an individual’s race, age, disability, religion, ethnicity, national origin, physical attributes, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran’s/ military status, or health condition; Vulgar, profane, profanity, threatening or harassing language and images (see Code of Student Conduct and Non-Discrimination policies).
  • 1.4. Name-calling of individuals or calling out departments in a threatening or harassing way (see Code of Student Conduct and Non-Discrimination policies).
  • 1.5. Copyrighted or trademarked information (see Copyright policy); or
  • 1.6. Confidential or proprietary information of any kind or nature.
  • 1.7. Illegal activity or encouragement of illegal activity (see Code of Student Conduct and Code of Ethics policies)
  • 1.8. Threats or personal attacks (see Code of Student Conduct and Non-Discrimination policies)
  • 1.9. Do not use these sites for personal or business benefit or gain for yourself, any other individuals or outside organizations (see Code of Ethics). Exceptions may be granted if request is vetted with Marketing and Communications and aligns with TCC’s mission, vision, values and Strategic Plan.
  • 1.10. Behaviors that disrupt normal operations of the college, including, but not limited to behaviors that are disorderly, breach of peace or aiding, abetting or procuring another person to breach the peace (see Code of Student Conduct).

2. Terms of Use

    • 2.1. Employees may operate a social media account at a departmental level that is associated with the College: employees must receive authorization for such use with the Department.
    • 2.2. The department must possess the passwords and administrator rights for all TCC social media accounts and must be made aware of any changes to passwords or accounts.
    • 2.3. The department reserves the right to dissolve or suspend TCC departmental level online accounts based on these guidelines:  If the online account is not actively used within six months; and/or not following policy guidelines and procedures.
    • 2.4. Employees should follow de minimus rules if using College computers for personal social media use. If an employee is involved in a task that includes work on a TCC social media account, they may use work time and work computers for TCC social media accounts. An employee's use of state resources is de minimus only if each of the following conditions are met (WAC: 292-110-010):
    • 2.4.1. There is little or no cost to the state;
    • 2.4.2. Any use is brief;
    • 2.4.3. Any use occurs infrequently; 
    • 2.4.4. The use does not interfere with the performance of any state officer's or employee's official duties; 
    • 2.4.5. The use does not compromise the security or integrity of state property, information systems, or software; 
    • 2.4.6. The use is not for the purpose of conducting and outside business, in furtherance of private employment, or to realize a private financial gain; 
    • 2.4.7. The use is not for supporting, promoting the interests of, or soliciting for an outside organzation or group. 
    • 2.5. The College is committed to fostering an educational environment that allows for freedom of speech, in accordance with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. However, the College will not tolerate content on an official TCC social media account that is declared to be unlawful, obscene or defamatory. The college reserves the right to remove this content on TCC social media accounts. 
    • 2.6. The College owns all content published to TCC social media accounts. Anything published to a TCC social media account should be free of any copyright issues and appropriate for a public institution. Users should direct questions about copyrighted content to the Department. 
    • 2.7. Users that violate College copyrights will have action taken. If you notice any social media accounts representing themselves as the College or using College branding without permission, please contact the Department.
    • 2.8. For class curriculum or for student projects that use online computer communication tools (blogs, social media, websites, etc.), faculty shall inform the Department if students are using the college logo or name in their projects. Direct questions about online representation of the College, including the use of logos or the college name, (see Acceptable Use Policy 8a) to the Department.

3. New TCC Social Media Account Requests 

  • 3.1. TCC departments requesting for a social media account, such as a Facebook page, shall consult with the Department to determine if that is the appropriate vehicle.
  • 3.2. All content on TCC social media accounts will comply with accessibility requirements. The Department will ensure social media content is accessible.
  • 3.3. All TCC social media accounts must comply with approved College branding standards. Please contact the Department for information.

4. Photos and Videos of Students, Staff, Faculty and Community Members

  • 4.1. Please inform subjects their images may be posted on social media. An external sign that notifies audiences that photos are being taken for social media use can be displayed for adequate notification. Respect the wishes of anyone who asks that identifiable images to not be used, or that identifiable images be removed from an online platform.
  • 4.2. The College makes every effort not to post identifiable images of minors without written parental consent. However, minors may be inadvertently included in crowd shots at public events, such as at Commencement and athletic events. While recognizing the impossibility of excluding all minors from all photos, we ask that College social media managers make a good faith effort to avoid posting identifiable images of minors without signed parental consent.
  • 4.3. Some categories of students, such as student athletes, OSE student leaders, and students from some academic departments, sign photo releases as part of their registration process. Check with the Department and/or the instructor or leader of the event if you have questions about photo release status.

5. Process of Those Who Violate Policy

  • 5.1. For staff and/or students:
    • 5.1.1. When the department determines a user comment is in violation of this policy, the department will hide the comments and take the following steps with staff and/or students:
    • 5.1.2. After the first violation by a commenter, the commenter will be provided notice of the violation and reason why the comment was removed.
    • 5.1.3. After a second violation by a commenter, the commenter will be provided notice of the violation and the appropriate authority will be notified – HR for employees and Student Conduct Administrator for students and/or BIRT (Behavioral Intervention Response Team).
    • 5.1.4. After a third violation, the commenter will be provided notice of the violation and will be suspended from commenting on TCC social media accounts for 30 days. HR and/or Student Conduct Administrator and/or BIRT (Behavioral Intervention Response Team) will be notified.
    • 5.1.5. For represented TCC employees, these measures will be subject to provisions of the negotiated agreement.
  • 5.2. For a non-student and/or staff who are not affiliated with TCC:
    • 5.2.1. After the first violation by a commenter, the commenter will be provided notice of the violation and reason why the comment was removed.
    • 5.2.2. After a second violation by a commenter, the commenter will be provided notice of the violation and will be suspended from commenting on TCC social media accounts for 30 days.
    • 5.2.3. After a third violation, the commenter will be provided notice of the violation and will be suspended from commenting on TCC social media accounts for one year.
  • 5.3. Appeal
    • 5.3.1. An employee can appeal the decision of being removed from a TCC social media account with HR and department by written notice within 10 days of incident.
    • 5.3.2. A student can appeal of decision of being removed from a TCC social media account with the Student Conduct Administrator and department by written notice within 10 days of incident.
  • 5.4. For comments that violate policy
    • 5.4.1. TCC reserves the right to extend the time period of blocking a user based on the content posted on a TCC social media account.