UMSL Digital Policies
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Web & Electronic Communications Policies

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INTRODUCTION

The following policies apply to the University of Missouri–St. Louis web presence and other forms of electronic communications. The policies help maintain consistency in presenting university information and ensure the university’s digital presence accurately reflects the university’s brand identity. Official and publicly viewable unit (e.g., division, college, school, department, center, program or organization) websites must adhere to the following policies. If you have questions regarding these policies, please contact University Marketing and Communications.

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CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

Recognizing the distinct marketing and financial advantages of maintaining a singular website application, UMSL’s Marketing and Communications department, along with Information Technology Services (ITS), manage a central Content Management System (CMS) application for all university websites. This is a policy is also common to other UM campuses and the UM System offices. The CMS application (Cascade by Hannon-Hill) used by UMSL and other campuses’ provides a tool for creating, editing and publishing webpages without having an understanding of complex HTML or other coding languages. The CMS ensures that all navigation, headings, font and style sheet information remains consistent across all UMSL webpages. Importantly, It also ensures that MarCom and ITS have permanent administrative access to all university websites.

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CMS ACCESS AND TRAINING

All new users to the CMS are required to complete an ITS-led training session before being granted access to the application. Only individuals with a valid university provided SSO may be granted access to the CMS which includes faculty, staff and students. CMS Training Sessions are held monthly and registration is required.

Once a user completes training, access to the CMS will be granted with login available at https://cms.umsl.edu:8443/login.act.

Access to the CMS is only available on a secure connection either through an UMSL internet connection or by VPN.  New users are added to the CMS Site Managers List and are also added to an email distribution list where important information is shared with users on issues such as outages, upgrades or new features.

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REQUESTING A NEW CMS SITE

Official UMSL departments (schools, colleges, divisions, centers, programs, etc.) may request a new site be created in the CMS by completing the UMSL Website Request Form. Please review the website hosting and domain policy below before completing the form.  Importantly, as student organizations have their own distinct web server, student organizations should refer to the OFFICIAL CAMPUS STUDENT ORGANIZATION WEBSITE AND EMAIL ADDRESS POLICY information below.

Prior to requesting a new site, consider if the site should be a sub-site of an existing site. For example, if a newly established degree, minor, or certificate program is housed within the School of Social Work, the site should be established within the current Social Work site (www.umsl.edu/~socialwk/) with a URL extension such as www.umsl.edu/~socialwk/sitename. Sub-sites can be established by the CMS site manager for the given unit without permission or activities requiring coordination with MarCom or ITS.  For new, standalone sites, please use the form above.

University Marketing and Communications, along with Information Technology Services, will review new site requests - typically within two business days. Approved sites will be established within the CMS and initially limited to publishing on the UMSL test server, known as Web Dev. This will serve as a test environment to begin developing the site. CMS users will be granted access only after completing CMS training. The URL for the webdev site is typically the same as the live site but with ~webdev preceding the site name.

  • Example: Live site = www.umsl.edu/cashiers while Dev site = www.umsl.edu/~webdev/cashiers

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WEBSITE LAUNCH

Once the development site has been created, a request to move the site to the UMSL production, or live, website environment must be made. Request to launch to production should be directed to University Marketing and Communications. MarCom will review the development website for quality control and prepare the site to publish live. Unit websites must meet the policies presented here before launch.  New sites will be published live and added to the A-Z index. A trained, fulltime UMSL employee (staff or faculty) is required to serve as a site manager before a website may go live. UMSL students may be added as users to a site as long as a fulltime UMSL employee serves as the site manager. Site managers will be added to the CMS Site Managers List are are responsible for maintaing the content of the site.

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STYLE GUIDELINES

Website Style Guidelines for the most common HTML elements (color, typography, buttons, tables, etc.) are available online. In addition, MarCom maintains Policies and Guidelines for logo artwork, colors, grammar and style available online. All university websites must comply with the standards set in these guides. Site managers must work within the CMS using the provided template(s) and stylesheets to design pages. No custom stylesheets or custom coding will be allowed on any Cascade sites.

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CONTACT INFORMATION

Each page on a unit website must include a complete postal address and a telephone number for the unit in the page footer.

Each unit website must include a “Contact Us” webpage with basic or detailed contact information for the unit, including information such as phone number, email address, postal address and fax number, if applicable. Each unit should establish procedures for listing the email addresses of individual employees on unit websites and carefully consider the risks of publishing those addresses.

Units may request a generic resource email account via the UMSL Account Request System

  • Example: umslnews@umsl.edu

Generic email accounts may be published on “Contact Us” pages and other locations on unit websites. More than one person should monitor a generic account, and units should develop standards for responding to messages to their generic email accounts.

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WEBSITE AUDIT

University Marketing and Communications may engage in unit-level website audits within the umsl.edu domain for quality control issues, including a review of HTML code, content formatting, size, quality and diversity of images, mobile accessibility, functioning links, up-to-date content, and Section 508 Compliance. CMS site managers will be notified if a site is under review and will be notified of any issues that may be found. These reviews may not address the appropriateness or accuracy of content beyond common institutional responsibilities. As an extension of the university's Web and Electronic Communications Policies, additional web style guide and best practices should be followed by all site managers. University Marketing and Communications retains the ability to directly make any updates deemed necessary to bring a site to standards.

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ADVERTISING POLICY

No commercial advertising – of any type, at any time – is permitted on UMSL webpages. There are no exceptions to this policy. 

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CAMPUS CALENDAR POLICY

The UMSL events calendar (calendar.umsl.edu) serves as a central repository for the many events taking place throughout the university. Calendar entries may be viewed by anyone, however, only those with a valid university SSO and password may log in to interact with the calendar or submit events for review. Before using the calendar, familiarize yourself with our calendar best practices and the following policies:

General event calendar submission requirements:

  • Events must be submitted via the online event submission form at https://calendar.umsl.edu/.
  • Only events sponsored by a recognized university entity (college, department, program, division, center, office or a recognized student organization) will be considered for inclusion.
  • All recognized student organization activities must be submitted through the Office of Student Involvement via the MyEngage calendar application or will otherwise not be considered for inclusion.
  • Prior to entering an event submission form, the event organizer should ensure the event is not already listed on the calendar to reduce duplicate listings. The event organizer must also reserve the event location through the proper channels, and ensure that the times and other details associated with the event are correct. An event being published to the calendar does not reserve the location.
  • Your event listing must provide complete details including: title, date/time, location, sponsor, description and contact information. A website link for additional information is encouraged.
  • Recurring, daily events such as on-going exhibits or month-long observations, may only be entered for the first day of the activity. Ex: Jan 1. - "Art Exhbit Name Opening," April 1 - "Jazz Appreciation Month." Recurring activities such as campus or academic tours with regular dates/times will be restricted to widgets, place pages and channels only.

Events that will be considered for inclusion:

Appropriate events for the calendar include lectures, workshops, seminars, art and cultural events, community service events, social events, information sessions, and athletic events that are:

  • Sponsored by an official, recognized university entity.
  • Held at an on or off campus university owned or managed location, or at a university partner location. (Examples: Grand Center, West County Center, CORTEX, Off-Campus Sites)
  • Events held off campus in a location not directly affiliated with the university that are presented by an UMSL faculty member, administrator, or university representative.
  • Remain open to a significant segment of the UMSL community or to the general public.

Events that will not be considered for inclusion:

  • Events that lack required information.
  • Events that lack appropriate sponsorship or lack a clear UMSL connection.
  • Events that lack the approval of appropriate UMSL entities.
  • Events submitted less than five business days before the event date.
  • Classes, closed departmental meetings, recurring student club meetings, save the dates, and application deadlines.
  • Student activities submitted from non-recognized student organizations.
  • Commercial advertising of any type.

University Marketing and Communications manages the UMSL events calendar and reviews submissions on a case-by-case basis for inclusion on the calendar. The University reserves the right to remove and/or edit event listings not meeting appropriate criteria, use vulgar, threatening or hate speech, violate local, state or federal law, or fail to conform to the policies and procedures of the University of Missouri System.

Each event will be reviewed within two business days of submission. You may make changes to any events you add until they are approved by our staff. Once approved, the event will be listed on the live website. Further update or cancellation requests should be submitted through the Contact Us form to be managed in a timely manner (within 24 hours) whenever possible. Exceptions may include holidays and weekends. Please note that the calendar “pushes” data to various outlets, like the university’s mobile application, and the timing of updates to those outlets falls outside the direct control of calendar managers.

While the UMSL events calendar is a social calendaring application that is open to anyone with a university provided SSO, participation in the events calendar is a privilege that can be revoked at the discretion of the calendar editor. The University reserves the right to remove and/or edit user-provided content (including comments, images and reviews) not meeting appropriate criteria, use vulgar, threatening or hate speech, violate local, state or federal law, or fail to conform to the policies and procedures of the University of Missouri System.

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OFFICIAL CAMPUS ETHNIC, RELIGIOUS AND NATIONAL ORIGIN WEBSITE AND EMAIL ADDRESS POLICY

Permission may be granted to official, institutionally-supported ethnic, religious, or national origin units, functions or organizations for the assignment of an UMSL.edu website and corresponding email address at the discretion of and by specific permission of the Chief Communications Officer or designee.

Such websites are required to be built and maintained within the campus Content Management System (CMS) by the sponsoring entity.  University Marketing and Communications will maintain top-level administrative control and will have complete authority over the site and email function.  Such authority will be exercised to maintain the best interests of the institution and can range from editing to removal of the site.

Such sites will be listed in the campus A-Z index and available by direct URL (i.e., “UMSL.edu/Tahitians at UMSL”).  The primary links will be accessed through the navigation bar on the site of “UMSL Office of Diversity and Inclusion.”

Exceptions to this policy may only be granted by the Chief Communications Officer or designee.

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OFFICIAL CAMPUS STUDENT ORGANIZATION WEBSITE AND EMAIL ADDRESS POLICY

Recognized student organizations at UMSL may request a website and corresponding email address through the Office of Student Involvement.  Such websites are required to be built and maintained within the student organization management software (TritonSync) by the sponsoring entity and may not be assigned an UMSL.edu website or corresponding email address.

Exceptions to this policy may only be granted by the Chief Communications Officer or designee.

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HOMEPAGE

As the most visited page on the domain, the umsl.edu homepage serves an important role in showcasing the university to prospective students and as an entry point for current students, faculty and staff to quickly find links to top resources. Homepage content is managed by University Marketing and Communications. With the exception of UMSL Day, the homepage rotating banner area may not be used in the direct promotion or marketing of individual academic programs, special events and activities, or commercial sales. This section is reserved for UMSL Daily feature stories which may indirectly promote such areas.  The homepage must include the seal of the University of Missouri with a link to the University of Missouri System website as well as relevant copyright, privacy, DMCA, and equal opportunity information. The university's mailing address and general phone number must also be displayed.

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WEBSITE HOSTING

All UMSL departments and units must utilize the standard Content Management System (CMS) to host and maintain websites.  Exceptions may only be granted by the Chief Communications Officer or designee.

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WordPress: Websites approved by the Chief Communications Officer or designee to be hosted outside of the CMS must be established and maintained on the ITS-hosted WordPress server. ITS maintains the WordPress server environment as well as standard themes and plug ins. Site owners are solely responsible for maintaining site content and must request the addition of any special/custom themes and plug-ins through ITS. WordPress sites may not be used for official, publicly viewable unit (e.g., division, college, school, department, center, program or organization) websites. WordPress hosted sites may be acceptable for signature events, collaborative projects with external organizations, or special cases for marketing and promotion at the approval of the Chief Communications Officer or designee.

  • Example: homecoming.umsl.edu              (UMSL Homecoming)
  • Example: blogs.umsl.edu/news                 (UMSL Daily)

Permission to use WordPress may only be granted by the Chief Communications Officer or designee. If approved, users may request a new site through the ITS Request System. Site owners will not have administrative access to the production environment.

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External Hosting: Non-official, university-affiliated websites may be required to be hosted externally. For example, a community or business partnership where UMSL is a member may not be hosted internally. Permission to establish such an externally-hosted website may only be granted by the Chief Communications Officer or designee.  Approved externally-hosted websites are the sole and permanent responsibility of the sponsoring unit/department including all expenses associated with their creation and maintenance. ITS will not manage user access to nor maintain externally-hosted sites in the event the sponsoring unit is no longer able to.

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DOMAIN NAMES

Domain naming convention across all websites and pages within the Content Management System is standardized. Sites have a top-level domain of www.umsl.edu followed by the site/sub-site structure name. For example, a URL for a top-level unit would be www.umsl.edu/unit-name. Unit websites should have an intuitive, succinct URL that is marketable and reflects the unit’s affiliation/role at UMSL. URLs for unit websites should be structured per the following examples:

  • umsl.edu/print                  (Office of Printing Services)
  • umsl.edu/admissions     (Office of Admissions)
  • umsl.edu/magazine        (UMSL Magazine)

Programs housed within top-level units have a URL structure that pulls from the folder structure in the CMS. For example, a URL for a program housed within the College of Business would be www.umsl.edu/divisions/business/program-name.  

Understanding that the standard naming structure for some program sites may not be concise, units may request one of the following to aid in marketing/communicating a succinct URL for programs:

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URL Redirects: A URL redirect is a “vanity” URL that forwards users to a specific internal page. Redirects should only be established for unit homepages or single pages that are heavily promoted. URL redirects are structured in the format: https://umsl.edu/sitename.

  • Example: umsl.edu/umslday redirects to https://forms.umsl.edu/umsl-day/
  • Example: umsl.edu/business redirects to https://www.umsl.edu/divisions/business/

URL redirects may be requested through the ITS Request System.

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Shortened URLs: A shortened URL may be used to redirect users to a specific internal page. ITS maintains an application where a random, shortened URL can be automatically generated, or a custom generated shortened URL may be created. Shortened URLs are structured in the format: https://umsl.edu/go/sitename.

Shortened URLs may be requested through the URL Shortener System.

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Specialized URLs: The CMS can create specialized URLs that can take the place of the standard top-level domain structure. Specialized URLs are structured in the format: sitename.umsl.edu.

  • Example: studyabroad.umsl.edu (replaces www.umsl.edu/studyabroad)

Specialized URLs may be requested through the ITS Request System. Requests will be reviewed by both ITS and MarCom before given approval.

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External Domain Provider: There are times when creating a domain name through an external domain provider may be beneficial for marketing purposes, as well as maintaining the integrity of the institutional brand. UM System Supply Chain has approved the following vendors for external domains: GoDaddy (https://www.godaddy.com) and Network Solutions (https://www.networksolutions.com).

  • Example: umslday.com redirects to https://forms.umsl.edu/umsl-day/

All external domains must be registered with ITS. Please call the ITS Help Desk at 314-516-6034 before initiating an external domain.

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UMSL-SPONSORED ONLINE FORMS

Common site- or unit-wide online forms such as applications, take a tour, request information, or express interest in a degree program must be created within and connected to the university’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Requests to create CRM forms may be directed to the Office of Admissions at 314-516-5169. Site or page specific forms may be created outside of the CRM and linked to or embedded within a website using one of two centrally managed form applications:

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Google Forms

UMSL employees with a valid SSO may utilize Google Forms (https://docs.google.com/forms/) to create a form. UMSL-themed form templates are available under the Template Gallery tab labeled University of Missouri-St. Louis.

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Qualtrics

UMSL faculty, staff and students may utilize Qualtrics (https://umsl.az1.qualtrics.com/ControlPanel/) to create a form. Qualtrics meets UMSL’s obligations for data collection involving IRB standards or any other privacy standard. New users must create an account. All forms include an UMSL-themed format by default.  Learn more online.

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MASS EMAIL DISTRIBUTION

Internal Email Distribution: UMSL utilizes Microsoft’s Online 365 for student email and Microsoft Exchange for faculty and staff email. All university students and personnel are provided an official university ‘xxx@umsl.edu’ email account. Information Technology Services maintains active internal email list serves within these platforms, including:

  • Faculty: umslfaculty@msx.umsl.edu
  • Staff: umslstaff@msx.umsl.edu
  • Students: umslstudentwide@msx.umsl.edu
  • All Faculty, Staff, Students: umslwide@msx.umsl.edu

Internal email is a primary communication channel used to inform UMSL faculty, staff and students of operational/safety issues, strategic initiatives/updates and important events. To ensure accuracy, consistency and clarity, the policy for UMSL-Wide email distribution is as follows:

  • All messages related to operational/safety issues and strategic initiatives/updates will be distributed by University Marketing and Communications. Please submit your request and draft copy to communications@umsl.edu for consideration.
  • All messages related to events will be distributed by Student Affairs, which has a set of rules and schedule in place for events promotion. Please submit your request and draft copy to D’Andre Braddix or Kasey Fraser-Smith for consideration.

This policy does not affect the ability of targeted emails to students, faculty or staff from approved senders. Only users with permissions to send to these list serves may send internal mass email communications. Permission to these list serves may only be granted by University Marketing and Communications.

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Third Party Email Distribution: University Marketing and Communications maintains a master contract for third-party, mass email communication and marketing. At the time of this printing, the vendor for UMSL is Emma. Emma is a full-service provider for sending mass emails efficiently, tracking responses to those emails and receiving robust reports to analyze the effectiveness of email campaigns.

Details of this policy include:

  • This third party email distribution policy covers electronic communication intended for 25 or more recipients to be delivered by a non-university email distribution vendor to external (non-@umsl.edu) email addresses. It does not affect internal email distribution via campus email, i.e. UMSL-Wide and other lists owned by campus entities.
  • Consolidating UMSL’s email communications ensures the integrity of UMSL’s data and that UMSL is adhering to all applicable laws including the CAN-SPAM Act.
  • University Marketing and Communications maintains the master contract for mass email vendors and may change vendors as contracts are established through the university’s procurement process.
  • Units may request a subaccount and are responsible for:
    • Establishing and maintaining unit sub-accounts.
    • Developing and maintaining email distribution lists. Members of the UM Board of Curators or UMSL Chancellor’s Council cannot be included in a distribution data set without prior written approval from the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement or his/her designate.
    • Developing email content and ensuring content follows the UMSL Policy and Style Guide.
  • External emails may not be used to solicit financial support without the prior written consent from the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement or his/her designate.
  • University Marketing and Communications provides each subaccount with three UMSL-branded templates. Units may purchase additional templates for their subaccounts through Emma.
  • All mass email distributions to external (non-@umsl.edu) email addresses require an opt-out option to be clearly labeled on all distributions.
  • UMSL’s master contract limits the total number of active contacts allowed across subaccounts.
  • Monthly charges for each subaccount are based on the total number of active contacts in the account. Charges are not based on the number of emails delivered. Units must provide a MoCode upon activating a subaccount to be automatically charged on a monthly basis.
  • The cancellation of a subaccount with less than a twelve-month billing period will incur a $150 fee.
  • Requests for additional information on establishing a mass email subaccount – including availability, active contact limits, and monthly costs – should be directed to University Marketing and Communications. 

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WEBSITE PRIVACY POLICY

UMSL is committed to protecting the privacy of confidential information submitted by website visitors. The following document discloses the public privacy rights of UMSL website visitors.

1) Information Gathering

UMSL collects basic site use information that is not personally identifiable. This information might include: the operating system on your computer, the type of Web browser you are using, your IP address, and the links you followed to enter and leave our website.

We or our business associates may use data collected on this site for Online Behavioral Advertising purposes, e.g. to customize ads to you on other websites as you browse the Web.  If you do not want your browsing behavior to be collected for Online Behavioral Advertising purposes, you may change your browser settings: Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox , Chrome. You may also visit advertising sites directly to opt-out of ad targeting: AOL Advertising, APT from Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft Advertising, Yahoo!, AdRoll, Network Advertising Initiative.  Or, you may also wish to clear your web cache.  

2) Commitment to Individual Privacy

All personally identifiable information is collected on a voluntary basis, at the discretion of the website user. For example, it is your choice to provide your name, address or telephone number in the "Contact Us" section of the university's website.

3) Information Usage

Non-personally identifiable information is used to help us improve our site by enabling us to discover and address the needs of our site visitors.

It is UMSL's policy to collect the least amount of personally identifiable information to fulfill the required tasks such as: your name, mailing address, email address and other contact information. This type of information is used for the purpose of responding to your requests for information about the university and to contact you about future products and services. UMSL does not share personal information with third parties, apart from vendors who may utilize the information to perform services (e.g. credit card authorization, mail vendors, etc.).

4) Browser Cookies

A cookie is a small text file that may be used to collect information about website activity. Some cookies may serve to recall user information previously indicated by a Web user. Web browsers allow you to control cookies by not accepting them and even removing them from the system. Accepting the use of cookies will enhance your experience on our website.

5) Security

UMSL intends to protect the security of personal information collected through its websites. Monetary transactions submitted through the website are encrypted using the Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, protocol.

6) Limitation of Liability

The UMSL website may include hyperlinks to websites maintained or controlled by parties unaffiliated with UMSL. Links to these websites are provided as a convenience only, and UMSL is not responsible for and does not routinely approve, review or endorse the contents or use of any of the products or services that may be offered at those websites.

7) For More Information

For further information about this document or to correct or modify any information collected through our website, please contact:

University of Missouri-St. Louis

One University Blvd.

St. Louis, MO 63121-4499

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EXEMPTIONS

Exemptions from the web and electronic communications policies presented here should be requested in writing. Exemption requests should be made to the attention of the UMSL Chief Communication Officer or designee. Some exemptions may require the approval of the Web Executive Group, which is composed of the Chief Communications Officer, Chief Information Officer and Provost.

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