Policy 1502
University Communications and Marketing

Date of Current Revision: November 2016
Primary Responsible Officer: Vice President for University Advancement


Communications that are visually and editorially consistent create and maintain a strong cohesive institutional identity. To ensure that all official university communications preserve and promote a consistent image of the university, while accurately conveying its message, this policy provides for the establishment of the James Madison University Identity System. The online version is the authoritative source for the JMU Identity System.


The Board of Visitors has been authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia to govern James Madison University. See Code of Virginia § 23.1-1600. The Board has delegated the authority to manage the university to the president.


James Madison University Identity System:
A system of editorial style, graphics, photography, school colors and Web presence representing James Madison University, found online at the James Madison University Identity System

Official University Communications and Marketing: 
Official university communications include, but are not limited to, advertising, printed and electronic communications, promotional items, signage, web sites, and social media. Examples include:
  • All communications and marketing bearing the university name or subunit name as the publishing or sponsoring entity.
  • All communications and marketing produced by people acting in their capacities as university employees or using university equipment.
  • All communications and marketing for which production costs are paid for with budgeted university funds.
  • All communications and marketing targeting media.
  • Paid advertising.


This policy applies to all James Madison University employees and other non-university personnel and/or contractors and vendors who prepare official university communications intended for external dissemination.


All official university communications and marketing must comply with all James Madison University Identity System standards.  Employees who prepare official communications are responsible for the following standards specified in the university’s identity system.


6.1 The Division of University Advancement Office of Communications and Marketing offers guidance and services to departments and offices to help ensure that all official university communications comply with the James Madison University Identity System.

6.2 The Office of Communications and Marketing coordinates all university paid advertising. Please refer to Policy 1501 - Advertising for more detailed policy and procedure information on placing advertising.

6.3 The Office of Communications and Marketing coordinates all university interaction with news media and social media. Please refer to Policy 1508 - Media Relations and Social Media Publishing for more detailed policy and procedure information on dealing with news media and social media.

6.4 The Office of Communications and Marketing provides photographic images for official university communications, media relations and sports media relations activities, and other public relations uses. This office maintains the university's photography library and ensures that a broad base of high-quality images is on file. Please refer to Policy 1509 - Use of Images for more detailed policy and procedure information on using university images.


It is the responsibility of the head of a unit to ensure that the information contained in an official communication is accurate and current, and that all official communications of that unit comply with James Madison University Identity System editorial and graphic standards and all other pertinent policies.


Sanctions will be commensurate with the severity and/or frequency of the offense and may include termination of employment.

Communications that do not conform to this policy can be restricted or terminated. The university also reserves the right to reject delivery of materials that violate or deviate from these standards.


This policy does not apply to the following:
  • Advertisements placed by the Office of Human Resources for employment-related activities are excluded from the provisions of this policy.
  • Student communications serving journalistic functions and/or those that are paid for or produced using student activities funds (e.g., Panhellenic organizations, SGA, The Breeze).
  • Any communication that is paid for by a grant and does not carry the university logo/name other than when JMU is used to indicate address and/or contact information for the publisher
  • Any communication that is produced by or for outside contractors such as Aramark and Follett.
  • Any communication or item that is produced for sale in the university bookstore.
  • Internal communications (i.e., e-mails and memoranda).
  • Communications produced by JMU faculty, staff and students acting in their private capacities, not as university employees.
  • Communications intended for internal purposes (for the campus community) and/or which are covered under the definition of “Official Communication” in Policy 1209 - Electronic Messaging, section 5.1.


The authority to interpret this policy rests with the President and is generally delegated to the Vice President for University Advancement.

Previous version: December 2013
Approved by the President: December 2013

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