The goal of all student publications is to give students the opportunity to develop and polish skills in communication, to express opinions, and to inform, enlighten, and amuse the University community. University support of student publications does not restrict freedom of speech, but does imply honesty, responsibility, and sensitivity in writing and editing.
Under University Guidelines for University-Sponsored Publications, all publications must conform to all applicable state and federal law, may not be inconsistent with their setting in a Catholic University, and must include honest, accurate, and fair reporting.
The purpose of this Student Organization Publication Policy is to establish guidelines for publications by student organizations and other student media organization expression.
Central to a university is the conception, sharing and promulgation of ideas and information. Education of this nature flourishes in an environment of free expression where the institutional community dialogues with itself and other parties outside the University. John Paul II’s Ex Corde Ecclesiae states, “The source of [a Catholic university’s] unity springs from a common dedication to the truth, a common vision of dignity of the human person, and ultimately the person and message of Jesus Christ, which gives the institution its distinctive character.” In a Catholic university setting, this discourse must always be respectful and charitable. The University expects its publications, broadcast venues, and any other form of student organization medium to approach discourse with mutual respect, intellectual rigor, moral integrity, and accepted standards in journalism. An accurate and honest dialogue must ensue while the parties involved maintain a commitment to the community of Villanova University, its mission and its Catholic heritage.
Discourse of ideas and information is realized in countless forms including, but not limited to, student publications such as articles, radio broadcasts, television, student organization promotional materials, student organization blogs or social media posts, or internet broadcasts that are published by student organizations. Likewise, within each of these media, are countless outlets for further expansion of a particular discourse - advertisements, cartoons, comics, and humor segments. It is the obligation of each medium to aid the University and its constituents in promoting discourse and advancing the exchange of ideas and information. Each medium allows members of the University the opportunity for self-reflection and criticism, an openness to opposing perspectives, as well as a window for further development. In expanding viewpoints and perspectives rather than limiting them, an environment of free expression with numerous media approaches the institution’s goal of the pursuit of truth.
All publications must conform to the standards articulated in the Preamble and Purpose. All state and federal laws that are applicable to publications or expression by any institutions or by individuals are also applicable to Villanova University. Fraudulent, obscene or libelous publications or expression may expose the University to civil or criminal liability. Accordingly, every possible effort must be made to avoid such expression. Publications or expression that include unlawful activity, or activity that endangers or imminently threatens to endanger the safety of any member of the community or of any of the community’s physical facilities, or any activity that disrupts or obstructs the functions of the University or imminently threatens such disruption or obstruction, are unacceptable. Likewise, publications or expression that are indecent, obscene, demeaning, threatening, harassing, or offensive on matters, including but not limited to, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, disability, age, or sexual orientation, are unacceptable in the Villanova community.
Use of Materials
As members of student organizations, students may be offered and/or provided certain rights or privileges by Villanova, including, without limitation, funding for certain programs and / or access, permission or passes to certain venues, locations, events, programs or interviews. Students shall use any rights or privileges offered or provided by Villanova solely for the benefit of the student organization and solely for the purpose of fulfilling the responsibilities and obligations of their role within their respective student organization.
Student organizations should use content created by Villanova students. Unacceptable content and content that is illegally or improperly obtained as listed in the Policy section is not permitted for publications by student organizations and other student media organization expression. To the extent that student organization members have intellectual property rights in technology or other materials contained in any of the student created content, students grant Villanova non-exclusive license to use such technology or materials in connection with the content. Students may use their own student created content for non-commercial personal use in compliance with applicable law and University policy.
Archive of Publications
Please refer to the University Retention Policy for guidelines. The recommended practice for student organizations is that after a period of 5 years student content such as images, articles, videos, should be taken down from websites.
Any member of the University community may submit a complaint against a student publication, student organization, or individual when the complaining organization or individual reasonably asserts that the terms or spirit of this policy have been violated. Complaints arising under this policy should be submitted to the Director of Student Involvement who will forward complaint(s) to the Vice President for Student Life, or designee. The Vice President for Student Life may convene a Publications Advisory Board to obtain greater clarity on the complaint. The Vice President for Student Life, or designee, will ultimately determine whether this policy has been violated and the outcomes for any such violation.
In the event of convening the Publications Advisory Board (the Board) as defined below, the duty of the Board will be to advise the Vice President, or designee, concerning the allegations made under this policy.
- The Publications Advisory Board may vary, but generally will be comprised of the following:
- 2 student members
- 3 faculty / staff members
The Vice President for Student Life, or designee, will designate a Chair of the Board.
- The Board shall meet at its earliest opportunity after being convened, but no later than two weeks after being convened (unless approved by the Vice President for Student Life or designee).
- The Board shall gather information from any relevant sources as appropriate in order to understand fully all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegations related to the publication or expression, including but not limited to hearing from both the complaining party as well as the “offending” party or parties. The Board may also consult an expert from the field.
- Upon receiving the recommendations of the Board, the Vice President for Student Life, or designee, shall take this recommendation into consideration and determine the final outcome for the violation in question. The Vice President, or designee, are not required to follow the recommendation of the Board. The Vice President, or designee, in addition to the other conditions that student organizations must comply with, shall take appropriate action, which may include one or more of the following outcomes: educational training, loss or privileges to publish content, removal of content to comply with Purpose section of this Student Organization Publication Policy, Organizational Probation, or Loss of Recognition. At any time, the Dean of Students Office may also issue disciplinary sanctions to individuals or the organization as a whole, as outlined in the Code of Student Conduct.
- After review, the Vice President for Student Life (or designee) will issue a decision which will be final and binding.