The University of California and UCSF have several policies that every communicator should be familiar with. Below are some of the top-level policies governing how we use the UCSF name, who controls specific communication areas, and how we communicate electronically.

Media Relations

This UCSF policy ensures consistent and accurate communication with the media by delegating authority to the Office of Communications to coordinate, maximize, and facilitate all interactions with press and/or other news media and commercial entities. Read the policy »

Social Media

UCSF has policies and guidelines for the use of online media to ensure that laws are being followed and that the University is being accurately and consistently represented in such communications. These policies apply to all members of the UCSF community participating in university-branded or -sponsored blogs and social media.

University Name, Seal, Logo and Brand Identity

This UCSF policy provides guidelines for the use of the University name, seal, UCSF logo, and adherence to the UCSF brand identity. Read the policy »

The Office of Communications also provides specific guidance for working with external partners, when the UCSF name is for 1) commercial use, 2) non-commercial use, and use by an individual. Read the guidance »

Using University Communications Tools

The University of California Electronic Communications Policy (ECP) governs your use of all electronic communications resources, such as telephones, voicemail, email, mailing lists, and the web. To simplify our discussion below, we'll collectively call these communications tools.

This is a brief summary of some of the policy's highlights:

  1. Some activities are prohibited:
    1. No illegal or money-making activities: The University doesn't exist to help you break the law or make money. Don't use our communications tools for unlawful activities, commercial purposes, or personal financial gain. This includes downloading music, videos, or films from illegitimate sources.
    2. No disruptive activities such as chain email, spam, or email bombs. Seemingly innocent activities like these can result in huge administrative or legal clean-up costs.
    3. Don't republish someone else's intellectual property such as downloading or redistributing copyrighted teaching materials, articles, podcasts, PowerPoint slides, PDF documents, photos, books, book excerpts, music, or videos. If you must, seek permission to do so first. (You can do what you like with your own intellectual property.)

      Did we say teaching materials? Yes, we did. Teaching materials are almost always copyrighted. In the University of California, faculty members own the copyright to their own teaching materials, and the University is granted a license to them. (See Section III.A. in the 2003 Policy on Ownership of Course Materials.) Printed and electronic copies of teaching materials distributed to students are for only those students' education. Just because one can easily redistribute them doesn't mean one legally can.

  2. In general, your communications are private: The University does not monitor or examine your communications except under certain circumstances, such as when calling 911, when calls are monitored for evaluating customer service, when systems are routinely evaluated for security or reliability, or when evidence supports the belief that you have done something illegal or against policy. When applicable, the University will ask for your consent to examine your communications.
  3. Confidential information must be handled properly: When sending or publishing confidential information, you must ensure that the information is encrypted in transit and stored securely upon receipt.
  4. Systems administrators must respect privacy: University employees with administrator access to systems: In the course of your duties, you might encounter information that is considered private. You may not disclose or use this information. Don't seek private information that is not germane to your duties of system operations and support.

Violations of the policy are subject to federal law, state law, and University disciplinary actions.

For the complete policy, see the UC Electronic Communications Policy »


UCSF web identity standards help a user immediately distinguish official UCSF sites from unofficial sites. Policies and standards must be followed by all official UCSF websites to ensure security, privacy and usability for all our visitors. Read the policies and standards »