Texas Tech University Faculty Senate
Operating Systems and Procedures Manual  

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"Branding" and the News Media

This summer Texas Tech University, apparently as part of the well-financed "branding" attempt to establish a sharper university image, issued a "system level" document, OP 68.01, to govern "Communications and News Media Policies and Procedures." Because this requires faculty members to report ALL media contacts to the Office of Communication and Marketing, and also to clear with that office in advance all those contacts deemed to be of a "controversial or questionable nature," it at least adds red tape to media contacts and at worst might discourage faculty speech. These issues were raised in the Senate meeting of September 14. The Agenda Committee subsequently referred the matter to Study Committee D, which recommended changes in the OP whose import was to make its recommendations advisory rather than mandatory. This report was adopted by the Senate on December 7. It was referred to President Whitmore, along with a cover letter by Senate President Howe urging him to advocate new OP language.

The Board of Regents subsequently decided to undertake a systematic review of all of its Operating Procedures, to be conducted in increments through the course of 2006, and university officials expressed the hope that the language would be cleared up at that time. Meanwhile, Lynn Denton, Associate Vice Chancellor Communications and Marketing, indicated at the Faculty Senate meeting on March 8, that the present policy was not being applied in any way that would censure or precensure faculty speech.