November 28, 2020

Due to concerns of faculty, the new media policy has been revised

Copies of Public Relations’ revised Media Interaction Office Policy were available at Faculty Assembly on Tuesday, Feb. 14. Barbara O’Malley, associate vice president and chief communications officer, discussed the policy and highlighted the document’s changes.
“The whole controversy over this policy, I feel, has been actually very positive for everyone,” O’Malley said. “Hopefully including the students because we’ve had the conversation (about the media policy).”
At Faculty Senate’s special senate meeting on Feb. 7, faculty senators expressed concerns regarding the media policy to O’Malley and Provost and Senior Vice President Julian Schuster. Faculty Senate worried the policy had been misinterpreted as a university-wide policy.
Faculty Senate asked O’Malley to make the policy clearly state that it is only for Webster’s Public Relations office and that a non-retaliation clause be added. Both requests were addressed in the revision.
Gwyneth Williams, political science professor and Faculty senator, said she thought it was good that the administration came to a faculty assembly meeting to explain the policy.
“It seems at this point that the administration is moving to make it as clear as possible, the limits of that policy.” Williams said. “They responded very quickly.”
O’Malley said the office policy encourages anyone contacted by the media to let public relations know and, if they don’t want to speak with the media, they can let the public relations office speak for them.
“(The media policy is) very consistent with how other folks handle public relations and streamlining a message, making sure that accurate information is delivered,” O’Malley said.
O’Malley said the policy is only applicable when someone is speaking on behalf of the university.

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