Media Policy #1: Media Inquiries about the ASU Library

As a rule of business, the University Librarian is the Official Spokesperson for the ASU Library. On the Tempe campus with the exception of straightforward information questions (e.g., "what are the library hours?"), inquiries about the libraries from all media representatives (including student reporters) are to be referred to the Office of the University Librarian. Inquiries at the Downtown Phoenix, Polytechnic and West campuses should go through their respective library director.

The University Librarian is charged with responsibility for providing the information, opinions or policy interpretation or for referring the reporter to the library employee with the appropriate expertise, as well as the administrative responsibility and authority, to officially respond. 

SPP 813: Code of Conduct for Business, which states "employees are to adhere to the business rules of the University and their departments," explicitly prohibits "the expression of private opinion through…any form of media or to public officials or others, including: 

  1. The use of university time ….to express employee opinions about matters that do not relate to his/her responsibility at the university, 
  2. Implication of an employee's opinion as the university's opinion about matters that do not relate to his/her responsibility at the university." 

 For the purpose of clarification, the phrase," university opinion," includes the opinion of the ASU Library or a library department/unit or library administration in general.

This policy does not prohibit library employees from answering straightforward information questions from reports. (e.g., "What is the policy for X?") However, when a reporter proceeds to asking questions about policy rationale or application and interpretation of policy, questions should be referred to the University Librarian's Office. Rule of thumb: If in doubt, refer to the Office of the University Librarian.

Rationale:

  1. This policy is primarily intended to minimize reported misinformation and improperly used quotes about the ASU Library.
  2. By nature of employment within a customer service based organization, library employees want to help people who have questions. Consequently saying "no," to a persistent reporter, can be extraordinarily difficult. Therefore this policy also is intended to give library staff an accepted protocol for resisting the assertiveness that reporters sometimes use. It evolves from a long history of published errors and inappropriate quotes used by inexperienced journalism students, who often resort to "cold" calls to random or inappropriate library telephone numbers to "interview" anyone regardless of assigned responsibility.
  3. This policy is not intended to limit press access. Rather it is hoped that by establishing a practice of immediate referral, the media will get the most accurate input quickly in order to meet their ever- present time limitations.

 

Cross Reference

SPP 813: Code of Conduct for Business Activities