General Web Use Policy

Lamar University recognizes the value and potential of utilizing the Internet and hence allows and encourages students, staff and faculty to use the university’s Internet resources and network within established guidelines.  Contents of all electronic pages must be consistent with Lamar University and Texas State University System policies and local, state and federal laws. This includes links to other pages or computers; therefore, a page may be considered in violation if it contains links that violate the policy.

All unit websites must comply with university standards as established herein by the Web Advisory Committee. Questions about content or utilization should be directed to the Committee or the Director of Web Communications.  Copyright laws apply to electronic publishing as well as print publishing. Electronic publications are subject to the same University policies and standards as print publications.  All web authors publishing to pages or sites housed on Lamar University web servers are required to be familiar with and abide by the standards and policies herein.

Lamar University resources may not be used to create web pages for personal gain, except as permitted by University or System policies. Personal pages that provide information about individuals are allowed (see class V below).

Overview

Lamar University, through its connection to the Internet computer network, provides faculty, staff and students with access to the World Wide Web (WWW). Throughout the WWW, information is made available through online documents called "pages." An organized group of pages is referred to as a website, and the base page (similar to a table of contents) is commonly known as the "home page." Pages are stored and maintained on network-connected computers called Web servers.

The World Wide Web is a powerful tool used to present information in a convenient and dynamic format to users of the Internet or an intranet. Recognizing the scope of the WWW and its impact on the University, the President shall appoint a Web Advisory Committee. The Committee shall meet at least once each semester and set policies for all Lamar University websites.  The University Web Monitor works under the direction of the Web Advisory Committee to insure that university sites comply with these standards.

The www.lamar.edu web site is the University's public site, providing information for groups such as prospective students, parents, alumni and donors. My.lamar.edu is the University's intranet. It requires login and is intended for use by students, faculty and staff.

For purposes of this document, the term "webmaster" refers to one or more Lamar University employees assigned to perform tasks relating to university websites

Types of Pages

For purposes of clarification, Lamar University websites shall be divided into five classifications as follows:

  • Class I Official Pages
    are pages that represent the university as a whole and do not represent a particular unit, department or college. These pages are developed and maintained by the University Webmaster, who is responsible for content, timeliness and adherence to these policies.
  • Class II Official Pages
    are sub-sites of the Lamar University website that represent individual departments, units or colleges. These pages are developed and maintained by each department individually and each department is responsible for content, timeliness and adherence to these policies.
  • Class III Official Pages
    are professional pages for individual employees with content directly related to the faculty or staff member's official capacity at the university. These pages are developed and maintained by each employee individually or by the department, and each employee is responsible for content, timeliness and adherence to these policies.
  • Class IV Official Pages
    are official pages of registered student organizations recognized by the Division of Student Engagement. These pages are developed and maintained by each student organization and are subject to the authority of the student engagement division using the OrgSync system. Each organization is responsible for content, timeliness and adherence to these policies.
  • Class V Unofficial pages
    are personal pages of faculty, staff or students that do not represent Lamar University and are maintained by faculty, staff or students as individuals. Their respective owners are responsible for their content, timeliness and adherence to these policies.

Standards for All Sites

Contents of all electronic pages must be consistent with Lamar University and Texas State University System policies and all local, state and federal laws. This includes links or automatic refreshes to other pages or computers; therefore, a page may be considered in violation if it contains links or automatic refreshes to a page that violates the policy. Violations will result in corrective action as stipulated in the section of this document under “Consequences”.

All persons responsible for web sites at Lamar, both content owners and web designers, should be familiar with university policies.

The following standards apply. All pages shall:

  • Follow the guidelines described in the Guidelines section of this policy
  • Follow the visual standards included in the University’s Visual Standards Manual (available in print and on the Lamar University website).  Use only images which accurately represent Lamar University. These may be drawn from images in Class I Official sites maintained by the Director of Web Communications or they may be images taken on the Lamar University campus or of Lamar University students.
  • Include date of last revision and contact information for the individual responsible for the content and maintenance of the page, including a name, physical location, and phone number or email.
  • Link to readily available sub-pages of any legal site.
  • Comply with all LU policies and laws, including those on copyright and access for persons with disabilities.
  • Be reasonably attractive and easy to load.
  • Be accurate and timely in content. Sites must be updated at least once each long semester and once in summer. This should include checking all links.

All pages are encouraged to:

Adhere to WC3 standards. See  http://www.w3.org/QA/Tools/#validators and http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/full-checklist.html

(1) Effective September 1, 2006, unless an exception is approved by the president or chancellor of the institution of higher education, pursuant to §2054.460, Government Code, all new or redesigned Web pages/content shall comply with the following Texas Web accessibility standards/specifications, where applicable:

A) A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided (e.g., via "alt," "longdesc," or in element content).

(B) Upon receiving a request for accommodation of a Web cast of an open meeting (as defined in the Open Meetings Act, Chapter 551, Texas Government Code) or of training/informational video productions which support the institution of higher education's mission, each institution of higher education which receives such a request for accommodation shall provide an alternative form(s) of accommodation in accordance with §2054.456 and §2054.457, Government Code. (Examples of different technologies and forms of accommodation and additional information for institutions of higher education to consider in the development of accessible training and informational video productions are available in the Accessibility Section of the State Web Site Guidelines under
"Multimedia, Audio, and Video Files" available from http://www.dir.state.tx.us.)

(C) Web pages shall be designed so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color.

(D) Documents shall be organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet.

(E) Redundant text links shall be provided for each active region of a server-side image map.

(F) Client-side image maps shall be provided instead of server-side image maps except where the regions cannot be defined with an available geometric shape.

(G) Row and column headers shall be identified for data tables.

(H) Markup shall be used to associate data cells and header cells for data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers.

(I) Frames shall be titled with text that facilitates frame identification and navigation.

(J) Pages shall be designed to avoid causing the screen to flicker with a frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz.

(K) A text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, shall be provided to make a Web site comply with the provisions of this section, when compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way. The content of the text-only page shall be updated whenever the primary page changes.

(L) When pages utilize scripting languages to display content, or to create interface elements, the information provided by the script shall be identified with functional text that can be read by assistive technology.

(M) When a Web page requires that an applet, plug-in or other application be present on the client system to interpret page content, the page must provide a link to a plug-in or applet that complies with the following:

(i) When software is designed to run on a system that has a keyboard, product functions shall be executable from a keyboard where the function itself or the result of performing a function can be discerned textually.

(ii) Applications shall not disrupt or disable activated features of other products that are identified as accessibility features, where those features are developed and documented according to industry standards. Applications also shall not disrupt or disable activated features of any operating system that are identified as accessibility features where the application programming interface for those accessibility features has been documented by the manufacturer of the operating system and is available to the product developer.

(iii) A well-defined on-screen indication of the current focus shall be provided that moves among interactive interface elements as the input focus changes. The focus shall be programmatically exposed so that assistive technology can track focus and focus changes.

(iv) Sufficient information about a user interface element including the identity, operation and state of the element shall be available to assistive technology. When an image represents a program element, the information conveyed by the image must also be available in text.

(v) When bitmap images are used to identify controls, status indicators, or other programmatic elements, the meaning assigned to those images shall be consistent throughout an application's performance.

(vi) Textual information shall be provided through operating system functions for displaying text. The minimum information that shall be made available is text content, text input caret location, and text attributes.

(vii) Applications shall not override user selected contrast and color selections and other individual display attributes.

(viii) When animation is displayed, the information shall be displayable in at least one non-animated presentation mode at the option of the user.

(ix) Color coding shall not be used as the only means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element.

(x) When a product permits a user to adjust color and contrast settings, a variety of color selections capable of producing a range of contrast levels shall be provided.

(xi) Software shall not use flashing or blinking text, objects, or other elements having a flash or blink frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz.

(xii) When electronic forms are used, the form shall allow people using assistive technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions and cues.

(N) When electronic forms are designed to be completed on-line, the form shall allow people using assistive technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions and cues.

(O) A method shall be provided that permits users to skip repetitive navigationlinks.

(P) When a timed response is required, the user shall be alerted and given sufficient timeto indicate more time is required.

All pages shall not

  • Use derogatory or libelous materials or materials that infringe on the rights of others.
  • Use materials which violate policies or laws.
  • Use confidential materials including records protected by the Family Educational Rights and Protection Act.
  • Use materials that are abusive, profane, threatening or sexually offensive
  • Include advertisements for commercial products or enterprises.
  • Use animations except where clearly linked to academic or intellectual content.
  • Misrepresent the content of Lamar University’s pages, or misinform users about the origin or ownership of Lamar University’s web site.
  • Link outside web site graphics or tables within Lamar University web pages.

Class I Official Lamar University Home Page Guidelines

The Official Lamar University Home Page, www.lamar.edu, supports the mission and purposes of the University by providing an online channel for distributing information about the University to the world. The page contains a wide range of information of interest to the public and to members of the Lamar University community. It is designed and maintained by the Division of University Advancement and all pages linked to it should serve as a means of advancing Lamar University’s Mission and Core Values.

My.lamar.edu is the internal portal (intranet) for Lamar University students, faculty and staff, providing a common space for information and communication tools such as e-mail. This page is designed and maintained by web specialists under the direction of the Vice President for Information Technology. It and all pages linked to it should serve as a means of fostering Lamar University’s Mission and Core Values.

Examples of appropriate material for Class I pages:

  • News and announcements
  • FAQs
  • University calendars and events
  • Information for prospective students
  • Outreach to alumni and public

Class II Official Lamar University Web Page Guidelines

All academic and administrative departments are encouraged to maintain pages. All Class II pages must link to the Lamar.edu web site and/or to my.Lamar.edu. Vice presidents, deans and department chairs and directors shall have authority over web sites within their administrative domains.

Design standards for Class II pages:

Class III Official Lamar University Professional Web Page Guidelines

Official Lamar University professional pages directly related to the individual faculty or staff members’ official capacity at the university may be linked to the Lamar.edu web site and/or to my.Lamar.edu. Vice presidents, deans and department chairs shall have authority over these web sites.

Design standards for Class III pages:

Examples of appropriate material for Class III pages:

  • Instructional materials including syllabi, lecture notes, tutorials, etc.
  • Research interests
  • Professional memberships, information and publications
  • Photograph, resume or curriculum vita
  • Office hours and contact information

Please note that advertisements for commercial products or enterprises are not appropriate.

Class IV Official Lamar University Student Organization Web Page Guidelines

Student organizations recognized by the Division of Student Affairs must maintain their official web sites on a designated Lamar University-owned server. These sites may be linked to the www.lamar.edu web site and/or the my.Lamar.edu website. The Vice President of Student Affairs shall have authority over these web sites.  Pages must comply with general university standards as previously stated.

The following disclaimer must appear on all Lamar University Student Organization Web Sites on the entry page:

"The views and opinions expressed in this document are strictly those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the State of Texas, the Regents or officials of The Texas State University System, the Lamar University Administration, and Lamar University colleges or departments, or any recognized Lamar University organization. Comments on the contents of this document should be directed to the author(s)."

Design Standards for Class IV pages:

  • All Class IV pages must follow the design standards established by the Division of Student Engagement through the use of the OrgSync system.

Class V Unofficial Home Page Guidelines

Unofficial Home pages are personal pages that are created and maintained by individual faculty, staff and students. Content of these pages may be unrelated to the individual’s professional role or duties at the university. The university expects and, in an effort to foster creativity and individuality, encourages unofficial Web pages. Such pages may be linked either to www.lamar.edu or to my.Lamar.edu. The individual is responsible for the design and content of the page, and for any confidential information he or she may post on the web site. Permission should be obtained from the content owner for any use beyond fair use.  Such materials may only be used in accordance with any limitations requested by the owner.  General standards previously stated apply to these pages.

The following disclaimer must appear on all unofficial personal websites on the entry page:

"The views and opinions expressed in this document are strictly those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the State of Texas, the Regents or officials of The Texas State University System, the Lamar University Administration, and Lamar University colleges or departments, or any recognized Lamar University organization. Comments on the contents of this document should be directed to the author(s)."

Design standards for Class V Unofficial personal pages:

  • Pages may NOT use either a Lamar University official header or footer, nor may they include the statement “Member of The Texas State University System.”

Examples of appropriate materials:

  • Original works of art and other graphics
  • Information about hobbies, interests and pursuits
  • Original writings
  • Resumes and biographical materials
  • Research results, data and/or discussion

Consequences

Notification
It is the responsibility of the Director of Web Communication to regularly review pages on university servers to insure compliance with policies stated herein. If pages are found not to comply with guidelines as stated in this document or in other Lamar University policy documents, the Director of Web Communication or a designate will contact the owner of the account to request that changes be made to conform to these policies. The University Web Monitor will specify the time limit within which changes must be made. When the requested changes are complete, it is the responsibility of the account owner to notify the Director of Web Communication that such changes have been made. In the case of serious violations, the Director of Web Communication may immediately disconnect a site and notify the appropriate administrator, the account owner and the University Web Advisory Committee.

Corrective Action

If compliance has not been achieved in the specified time period, the Director of Web Communication will notify the responsible administrator (see below) and, with approval, take corrective action. Corrective action may include, but is not limited to, removal of links to offending page(s) and disconnection of the offending site.  Further disciplinary actions may be taken by the administrator responsible:

  • Students and Student Organizations - Vice President for Student Engagement Faculty - Provost/Senior Associate Provost
  • Staff - Vice President for Finance and Operations

All violations and actions taken will be reported to the Web Advisory Committee. In the event that a person or department repeatedly violates these policies, the Web Advisory Committee may refuse access to publish on university servers.

Appellate Process

Any student, staff or faculty member who feels that he or she has been wrongly accused of violating these policies may appeal the decision by filing a written appeal within five working days of notification to the Web Advisory Committee. Written requests to appear before the Web Advisory Committee must contain the following information:

  • Name, telephone number, e-mail address, or other means of contact during business hours, URL of offending web page(s)
  • Reason for appeal
  • Signature

Please send appeal(s) to the appropriate administrative office as listed below:

Students
Vice President for Student Engagement Re: WWW General Use Policy Appeal P.O. Box 10054
Beaumont, Texas 77710

Faculty
Provost/Senior Associate Provost Re: WWW General Use Policy Appeal P.O. Box 10002
Beaumont, Texas 77710

Staff
Vice President for Finance and Operations Re: WWW General Use Policy Appeal
P.O. Box 10051
Beaumont, Texas 77710

A hearing shall be scheduled with the Web Advisory Board and the accused party may present his or her argument. The Web Advisory Committee will make a written recommendation to the appropriate administrator, who will then render a final decision.