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Calvin College Web Policy

REVISION #3, MAR. 13, 2001

NOTE: This policy was approved as "provisional but operational" by the President's Cabinet on March 25, 1996. The Calvin College Student Senate reviewed this policy in April, 1996 and gave advice; the Calvin College Faculty Senate reviewed and approved this policy on October 7, 1996. This policy was revised in March, 2001. Because web technology continues to change rapidly, the following policy will likely be revised periodically; comments on the policy may be sent to the Calvin Web Team at CREDITS: Many college and university web policies were reviewed in the formation of Calvin's statement. Particular thanks goes to the University of Minnesota for its excellent example of web policies and administration.

I. An introduction

Calvin College, as a liberal arts institution in the Reformed tradition of historic Christianity, attempts to be an agent of renewal in the academy, church and society. The faculty of Calvin pledge fidelity to Jesus Christ, offering their hearts and lives to do God's work in God's world. The College has approached technology in the same spirit—that scientific advances are gifts from God to be used for the benefit of humankind and the building of God's Kingdom (cf. "Responsible Use of Technology" document, found at: Thus, Calvin faculty, students and staff ought to be acquainted with and trained in new technological methods. However, our Reformed Christian perspective reminds us that not all advances have been used for the building up of humankind and in God-glorifying ways. Thus, along with the embracing of new technology comes a healthy caution to be certain that our use is responsible and Christ-centered. With these ideas shaping the College's approach to technology in general and the World Wide Web in particular, the following policy statement is presented to Calvin faculty, students and staff—and all others who are interested.

II. Educational Focus

As a Christian liberal arts institution dedicated to academic excellence, Calvin College recognizes that the Internet provides another avenue to explore God's creation and impact society for good. It is fitting, then, that the college makes web technology available to faculty, students and staff and trains and encourages them to publish electronic information. Today's technologically based society demands that college-educated persons be well-versed in the language of the Internet; thus a Calvin education should provide the training and opportunities for such learning.

III. Definitions

The College's web organization is set up as follows:

The College Home Pages (CHP) are the "main entrances" to the College's electronic communication network. The Alumni and Public Relations Office is responsible for their look and content.

Departmental Web Pages (DWP) are the pages for College academic departments and administration offices. They are the responsibility of the department/office heads and the home page must contain the correct College nameplate and other items. Student academic clubs or interest groups under the auspices of a department or office must be monitored by a faculty or staff member. These pages must also contain the College visual identity elements, and may—at the request of the mentor or College administration—include an additional clarifying statement.

Centrally Supported Web Pages (CSWP) are pages that run across department or departmental/office lines, such as "news and events" pages, interim courses and the like. The Web Team will help decide which office is ultimately responsible for any page; these home pages also must contain the College's visual identity elements.

Student Organization Web Pages (SOWP) are pages for the use of Student Senate-chartered organizations, found under the departmental Student Life Home Page, and periodically reviewed by the organization's faculty or staff mentor. These pages must contain the College visual identity elements, and may—at the request of the mentor or College administration—include an additional clarifying statement.

Personal Web Pages (PWP) are pages designed by and for the academic benefit, information and enjoyment of individual faculty, staff and students of the College. These pages are not linked directly to the College's Home Page and do not have to comply with identity standards of the College. A disclaimer must accompany the first personal web page. All content on Personal Web Pages must comply with the spirit and specific content of Calvin's Student Conduct Code (pp. 32-37 in the Student Handbook), which prohibits such things as dishonesty, racial or sexual harassment, profane or obscene language and other policy violations. Students who publish web pages found in violation of the conduct code are subject to the same disciplinary procedures as listed on pages 37-40 of the Student Handbook. Employees should review pages 25-30 of the Employee Handbook For Non-Faculty for conduct codes and disciplinary procedures. In addition, no commercial business endeavors (profit or non-profit) are to be conducted through personal pages on the College system. While Personal Web Pages will not be regularly reviewed and monitored by College personnel, violations that come to the attention of the College will be reported to the appropriate campus conduct boards.

IV. Quality and Content

Faculty, students and staff may create electronic department pages, organizational pages and personal pages that conduct official College business or support the College's mission. Electronic pages, and all of their contents, are subject to existing Calvin College policies as well as local, state and federal laws. Links to other web sites and computers are also covered under this policy. Thus, a page may be judged in violation if it contains links to a page that violates the policy.

Any electronic publication produced at Calvin College is a reflection of the institution and thus must be of good quality and responsible content. All department and centrally supported home pages must have the Calvin nameplate and/or logo. These pages will be regularly reviewed by the Web Team so that the College's electronic image reflects the same excellence as its print publications attempt to convey.

The central visual identity elements of the College that must appear on the College Home Pages, all departmental and centrally supported home pages and student organization home pages are the following: the Calvin College nameplate (normally in the approved maroon color and in the left-hand upper corner); a link to the main Calvin Home Page; the name and e-mail address of the College office/person responsible for the page; and the date of last revisions. It is recommended and required that subsequent pages contain two common elements: the Calvin College nameplate (in smaller type than the home page and normally in the approved maroon color in the left-hand upper corner of the page) with a link to the main Calvin Home Page; and the global navigation bar at the base of the page. Templates for these visual identity elements will be available by contacting the Web Manager (at Copyright laws apply to electronic publishing as well as to print publishing. Publishers must have permission to publish the information, graphics or photographs on their pages if the publisher is not the author or creator. Electronic publications are subject to the same College policies and standards as print publications.

Student organization pages must be periodically reviewed by the faculty or staff mentor, just as mentors review written publications. The College expects mentors and student organization leaders to use sound judgement in page content and quality, and this includes mandatory use of the College's visual identity elements as listed in the paragraph above. The College reserves the right to require a clarifying statement on student organizational pages in coordination with the organization's student leadership and mentor.

Personal home pages are not required to have the above College identity elements. In fact, personal home pages published by students may not use the College nameplate, logo or seal anywhere on any page.

All personal home pages must include the following disclaimer on its opening page: "The views and opinions expressed on this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by Calvin College."

Templates and examples of approved web page design are found at:

V. Web Team Resources and Monitoring

The Web Team is made up of representatives from the Alumni & Public Relations and Information Technology offices, meeting under the direction of the Vice Presidents for Enrollment and External Relations and Information Services, this team reviews and makes recommendations regarding World Wide Web policy and production issues. It serves as a resource for all College community members and can be accessed through the internet at

Once a year, the Web Team hosts a "State of the Web" presentation and open discussion session so that the Calvin community can be informed on web policy and projects and give feedback and suggestions.

The primary focus of the Web Team is not one of policing the Calvin web, but rather to assist all College community members to use electronic publishing effectively. However, the Web Team will periodically monitor College-sponsored web pages for quality and identity issues. It will not review student organization or personal home pages. If alerted to objectionable pages by another source, the Web Team will discuss the page and may either make a contact with the person responsible or decide to refer to the proper campus judicial body.

VI. Web Publishing Services

The web services group—a team effort of the Information Services and Alumni & Public Relations Offices—stays up-to-date on web content and design issues, trains College community members on the use of web technology and constructs web pages for College offices. This group has developed a manual of guidelines for faculty, staff and students eager to publish on the web. The manual contains the more technical aspects of web publishing and also includes helpful resources such as HTML writing prompts, templates for Calvin graphic identity elements, standard button bars and other tools so that web publishing can be carried out efficiently and web publications comply with the college's policies as stated above.

These guidelines can be requested from

Faculty, staff and students who wish to publish on the web or who have questions about web content can inquire from about the most appropriate services for their intended use. Typically, technical and training matters will be handled by Information Services; design issues, content and visual identity matters by the Alumni & Public Relations Office (via the Web Manager's office).

Appendix A: Contacts for Web-related Matters

For web policy information, contact Luke Robinson, Web Manager, Communications & Marketing, (616) 526-8686,

For technology information, contact the Calvin Help Desk, (616) 526-8555,

Appendix B: A Brief History of Web Issues at Calvin

In January, 1993, Calvin began an e-mail implementation process that included access to gopher, the internet campus information system pioneered by the University of Minnesota. At this time, gopher consisted of primarily library and computing resources.

In 1994, a World Wide Web server was developed with a combined "goweb" construct where departments could code information for gopher and it would land in both gopher and the web. In addition, student-friendly projects such as transferring Bodbook pictures on-line drew many students to the technology for the first time. Also, two academic departments installed their own webservers for use in their curriculum and research efforts.

1995 was a transition year. The campus NCSA webserver was replaced with the Cern webserver and gopher and the web were in the process of being decoupled (an activity still underway now). Late in the year, a team of employees, representing many offices and departments, met (at the now famous "Web Summit") to discuss campus priorities for the web.

The "Web Summit" led to the establishment of WIT (Web Information Team)—made up of a diverse group of Calvin faculty and staff members—which was given the mandate to bring some order out of chaos" by recommending a campus-wide policy and procedures for use of the web. This team met regularly in late 1995 and early 1996 to develop a structure for the Calvin community's use of web technology.

In October, 1996 a web policy statement was passed by the Faculty Senate (after review by the President's Cabinet and Student Senate) and from 1996 through 2000, the policy was monitored by a WIT-authorized "Web Team" from the Alumni & Public Relations Office and Information Technology. Primary design work on the web was done out of Audio-Visual.

In September, 2000 Calvin's first Web Manager position was filled, with the Web Team expanded in membership and agenda.