General Statement of Policy
Rice University’s Office of Public Affairs is responsible for managing the university’s image and reputation. As part of that responsibility, the unit oversees the use of the university’s name and official marks in all communication materials. Policies for ensuring that logos and other trademarks are used appropriately in printed materials have been in effect for several years. This policy is for overseeing the use of official university identity assets in domain name registrations.
Domain name registration activities at Rice University are treated similarly to other activities that require advance permission for the use of the university’s name or insignias. Domain names intended for an external audience that include an official university name — whether “Rice University” or the name of any of the university’s academic units, administrative units, organizations or affiliated groups — must be approved by the Office of Public Affairs prior to registering the name.
Reason for policy
Official university names are trademarks and reputational elements that communicate the university’s image and identity to the public. To ensure such names are used appropriately and in alignment with institutional goals, the university established a policy for governing domain name registrations.
Entities affected by this policy
This policy covers all academic and administrative units, university affiliates, and academic and administrative staff who are seeking to register a domain name.
Just as trademarks involving the name of the university or any of its units are managed by the university, any internet address that includes “Rice.edu” or the name of any of its individual units or affiliated groups in any form must be approved by the Office of Public Affairs. Private individuals and nonaffiliated Rice organizations or groups may not register such internet addresses. Externally hosted websites created by Rice faculty, students or staff, such as “.com” or “.org,” that use Rice in the name in a manner that may imply university involvement or endorsement, or confuse the public about such involvement, are also subject to this policy.
University brand standards
As in the case of other uses of the “Rice.edu” name or the name of an official university entity, advance permission from the appropriate officials is required. In all cases, the Office of Public Affairs must approve requests for use of official university names to be used in an Internet address or website identification in any form (including abbreviations or in combination with other words). For official academic unit names or similar entities, the dean or director of the unit must authorize the request.
Academic and administrative units, student organizations and programs or activities whose websites are housed on the official rice.edu web server (rice.edu) can apply for a subdomain name (unitname.rice.edu) through the Office of Information Technology (IT help desk).
Appropriateness of internet addresses
Internet addresses should accurately describe the activity or program to which they refer. An internet address or other use of “Rice” in any form that suggests sponsorship by the university as a whole or by any unit of the university will be approved only when such a name is accurate. In many cases, the appropriate address will note the group that hosts the activity, for example: “department.rice.edu”
Requirements for approval of an externally facing subdomain name
1. It must meet security standards set out by the Rice Information Security Office (ISO). There may be core requirements that, for example, keep education records and other types of data safe.
2. It must meet the brand standards of Rice University
3. It must meet the accessibility standards of the university.
4. The website should be updated at least once a year. Websites will be reviewed regularly, and abandoned or dormant sites will be removed from the rice.edu domain. They will be archived for one year and terminated if they are not updated during that time.
5. If work is being done by an external vendor, that vendor must be on the “approved vendors” list maintained by Rice Procurement.
Nonexternally facing Rice web subdomains
Subdomain names set up for internal (nonpublic) administrative purposes do not need approval.
The Vice President for Public Affairs is the responsible officer for this policy. Any questions relating to the policy or its implementation should be directed to the vice president for Public Affairs.