Statement Guidelines

Statement guidelines and decision-making process

A leadership statement conveys the position of campus leaders on an issue of major public interest. The issue will often be national or international but could also be of state or regional concern. These statements are distinct from campus messages issued during a crisis situation on campus. 

Leadership statements may offer moral support to those affected by an issue, which may include campus constituents, as well as pointing to concrete resources and assistance. Because of their nature, they also have the potential to involve the university in areas of controversy and partisan politics.  

Questions to answer when considering messaging

A “yes” to five or more of the below questions, suggests a strong case for issuing a campus-wide statement. If there are fewer than five “yes,” responses, it may still be appropriate for a college, school or unit to issue a statement.

  1. Has the situation/event garnered national attention/discussion?
  2. Does the situation/event have a connection to higher education, to university constituents or to the university’s strategic plan? Have other leaders or universities issued a statement?
  3. Is the university uniquely positioned to add to the public discussion?
  4. Does issuing a statement provide an opportunity to reinforce UC Davis’s values?
  5. Does issuing a statement fit with the persona of the leader?
  6. Is there a moral imperative to issue a statement?
  7. Does a statement address a need not adequately addressed at other levels of the organization?
  8. Does the statement include specific action steps and offer resources to enhance the discussion?
  9. What is the impact on our standing internally or externally if we do or don’t make a statement?
  10. Does this statement avoid setting a precedent or embroiling the university in a charged issue with university constituents involved on both sides?

Questions to ask once we get to “yes” on writing a statement

  1. Who is part of the decision-making process on the language in this statement?
  2. Who will sign the statement?
  3. Do we need to involve impacted affinity groups?

Questions for choosing the messenger

  1. Who is impacted by the statement? Faculty? Staff? Students? The entire campus community?
  2. What affiliate groups are impacted by the nature of the statement?
  3. Does someone have the unique expertise to comment on the issue?
  4. Who might be able to respond to any questions generated by the statement?
  5. Does the statement need more than one author?

Questions for deciding distribution and notification channels

  1. Who is the audience?
  2. Where are they most likely to see this message?
  3. Will this be of interest beyond the university community?

Statement checklist

Purpose

  •   What is the issue?
  •   What is the goal of the statement?
  •   Who are stakeholders/audience?
  •   Who is it addressed to?

Elements to include

  •   Issue
  •   Message points
  •   Examples
  •   Empathy
  •   Related Values
  •   Call to action
  •   Crime tip information
  •   Resources
  •   Links to web pages

From

  •   UC Davis
  •   Chancellor
  •   Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor
  •   VC Student Affairs
  •   VC Finance, Operations & Administration
  •   VC Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  •   Police Chief
  •   Other/Multiple signatories

Consultation and approval

  •   Who should be consulted?
  •   Who should review/approve?
  •   Campus Counsel?
  •   UCOP communications?

Distribution/Notification

Web

  •   Perspectives statement page
  •   Chancellor’s Leadership pages
  •   News and Information Page
  •   Unit or departmental website

News media

  •   Proactive distribution or on request?
  •   To which media?

Social media

  •   Channels?

Front-facing units

  •   Government and Community Relations
  •   Academic Senate Executive Office
  •   DEVAR: Donors, alumni, parents
  •   Undergraduate Admissions
  •   Finance, Operations and Administration
  •   Student Affairs
  •   UC Davis Health
  •   Colleges, Schools or Units

Other

  •   Email
  •   Lead communicators

Timing

  •   When do we want to share the statement?
  •   Are there other things or deadlines with which to coordinate the timing?