The following recommendations support positive and reciprocal relationship building between students and communities within the university and give students’ agency over the use of their images and likeness, while following university guidelines regarding photography and videography. These best practices are shared in response to students of color and students from minoritized backgrounds voicing their discomfort about the usage of their photos for university purposes without their expressed consent.
Do not take, share with other units or publish photos or video content of students without consent. Communicate with students that regardless of the purpose of the multimedia content there is no obligation or pressure to participate in photography or videography.
Gather model release forms from students who are featured in photos or videos, in alignment with university policy.
Be clear with students about how the photos or videos will be used and contact students for permission if they’d like to use the multimedia content in ways beyond those outlined in the model release form.
If you plan to utilize photos or videos for a broad number of materials, communicate this in the model release form and in conversation with the students. Similarly, talk to students about the anticipated time frame for the use of photos or videos.
Adopt practices that make it easier for students to contact your office if students no longer want to appear in a photo or video. Some examples of practices that communicators may choose to adopt include:
If a communicator is asked not to use a particular photo or video clip by a featured student, all efforts should be made to remove related photos and video clips from archives and to take down photos or videos from websites or other online platforms. Although there will be limitations on what can be done about materials that have already been printed, communicators should ensure identified photos are not used in future print publications.
Sharing stories and perspectives from historically underrepresented students is both important and a highly nuanced endeavor. Approach this work with care and in a manner that uplifts student voices and experiences.
Representation is a complex effort. Strive to be honest and authentic in demographic representation, while also aspiring to be as inclusive as possible without creating harm. Consider the intentions and potential impact of your actions.
There is no one-size-fits-all process. Circumstances are highly contextual — be thoughtful about your approach.
Remember to clearly communicate and clarify the purpose and usage of photographs and videos, particularly when working with historically underrepresented students.
Be open to and seek feedback from the students being highlighted in communications.
Staff and student workers taking or recording student images must have FERPA training before taking photos or videos.
Avoid using the same photos repeatedly or photos featuring the same students repeatedly in multiple communications, unless the student has expressed interest in being regularly featured.
To avoid the overuse of the same content, delete or archive photos or video clips that highlight students after the multimedia content has been in use for approximately three years. Only use this content for historical purposes after this time period.