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Division of External Relations

Communication Standards

Public Relations Media Policy

Public Relations manages the university’s interaction with online, print and broadcast media and documentary film crews. Our primary role is to promote the university, its mission and its scholarly and intellectual life and to assist journalists who seek information about the university and members of the campus community, while protecting its reputation and intellectual property. Over time, we are building public knowledge, support and enthusiasm for UC Merced’s special mission as a vital catalyst for educational and economic development throughout the region — and as a world-class research university in the UC system.

Public Relations produces and disseminates a wide range of news and information about the university, its people and its achievements both on and off campus. Our goal is to keep the public and the campus community well informed and updated on the university’s progress through all platforms, including new media. It is important to present the university in a manner that is both accurate and consistent with the university’s mission. Therefore, it is the responsibility of Public Relations to provide accurate and consistent information to avoid any misunderstanding, misinterpretation or confusion.

We strive to find the best ways to tell the stories of UC Merced to a variety of stakeholders and potential stakeholders, positioning our campus members as thought leaders regionally, nationally and globally. Public Relations facilitates media access to our campus, faculty, staff and students and offers a wide variety of news resources to journalists.

Public Relations at UC Merced is the general contact for all calls from reporters and editors. Communications staff should immediately be notified of any media contact. The primary university spokesperson is James Leonard, who can be reached in the office at 209-228-4408 or by cell at 209-681-1061. Members of the campus community dealing with and/or interviewed by the media will be assisted by Public Relations, a team trained to best serve those called upon to speak to UC Merced’s academic distinction, research excellence and the success of our students.

Social Media Policy

Social media serves a specific and distinct communications function at the University of California, Merced. Our active social media presence, aligned with the mission of increasing access to the venerable University of California system, offers key opportunities to share the innovative accomplishments made in research, teaching and public service by our students, faculty and staff. Resources on best practices and detailed social media standards are available online at For more information, email

University Name: On social media channels, the approved university abbreviation of UC Merced is acceptable in all instances. We recommend that all account names start with UC Merced, followed by the unit name (e.g. UC Merced Alumni). This enables users to most easily find and tag university-related accounts on all channels. UCM is only permitted when characters are constrained, such as Twitter and Instagram (e.g. @UCM_Chancellor).

Avatars/Profile Photos/Cover Images: Use of the UC Merced seal and logo are not permitted. We recommend images that accurately reflect the nature of your school or department. High-quality approved images are available to all UC Merced users

Account Usage: Many social media channels allow for toggling between accounts. Social media administrations should exercise extreme diligence to ensure they do not post personal content to university-affiliated accounts.

Campus Email Announcements

The UC Merced Vice Chancellors Council has approved a procedure to standardize the way email announcements authored by senior-level administrators are distributed and to provide recommendations to ensure the quality and consistency of those communications. The Guidelines for Use of Campus (Email) Announcements also serves to offer best practices to avoid message fatigue, reduce complaints and confusion, and maximize limited resources by eliminating redundancy. The guidelines are specific to communications sent to the general internal groups of students, staff and faculty. These requirements do not apply to communications within schools or departments, or in communications to students regarding academic status or deadlines.

University Boilerplate Description

UC Merced opened in 2005 as the newest campus in the University of California system and the first American research university built in the 21st century. The campus enjoys a special connection with nearby Yosemite National Park, is on the cutting edge of sustainability in construction and design, and supports highly qualified first-generation and underserved students from the San Joaquin Valley and throughout California. The Merced 2020 Project, a $1.3 billion public-private partnership that is unprecedented in higher education, will nearly double the physical capacity of the campus and support enrollment growth to 10,000 students.