Use of Testimonials by University Employees or Representatives

Purpose

To ensure integrity and avoid conflicts of interest in testimonials regarding the use of commercial products and services appearing in advertising or media; to ensure that such statements do not expose the university to legal or reputational risk; and to ensure that such statements align with university communication goals and strategies.

Scope

All university employees and representatives.

Authority

Associate Chancellor for Public Affairs.

Policy

Requests for the participation of any university employee or representative in a testimonial for any commercial product or service must be referred to the Associate Chancellor for Public Affairs.

In general, university faculty, staff and representatives cannot offer endorsements or testimonials of commercial products and services, or the appearance thereof, in commercial advertising or media if the university is identified in relation to either the endorser or the endorsee. Employees or representatives may confirm the university’s use of a specific provider’s commercial products and services and provide factual information about the university’s use of commercial products or services. They generally may not, however, offer any value judgment about the quality of the commercial product or service, nor should they express any level of satisfaction attributed to the university.

Processes/Procedures/Guidelines

Prior Approval

Before granting permission to use a testimonial by a university employee or representative, the university reserves the right to examine a copy of the text, images and context of the project in advance to ensure that it contains no endorsements by or inaccurate/misleading references to the university. The university further reserves the right to deny participation by university employees or representatives in cases where it considers the overall content of the project inconsistent with the university's goals and ideals.

Contact

Associate Chancellor for Public Affairs, 507 E. Green St., Champaign, IL, 61820; (217) 333-5010; publicaffairs@illinois.edu.