Advertising and sponsorship regulations for Georgetown University webpages

Georgetown University is a Catholic and Jesuit, student-centered research university. As such, it is an academic community dedicated to creating and communicating knowledge, and providing excellent undergraduate, graduate, and professional education in the Jesuit tradition of service to others. Georgetown encourages the use of Internet and Web technology to further its educational and research mission, and its administrative responsibility, but the University also recognizes that policies and procedures (specifically those in its "Principles for Internet Development") are necessary to govern, and sometimes constrain, the use of these technologies.

Georgetown University, as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, is subject to federal, state and local laws regarding sources of income, political activities, use of property, and other matters. Consistent with this and the University's existing Computer Systems Acceptable Use Policy and Principles for Internet Development, it is University policy to prohibit commercial and political advertising on its web sites [1]. Communications that further the University's educational mission or administrative roles are permitted, regardless of whether they have an incidental or other financial benefit; therefore, sponsorship references and links to Georgetown's business partners are allowed, consistent with IRS regulations, the University's contractual agreements, and the criteria below.

Sponsorship postings may contain the following:

  • Logos and slogans that do not include qualitative or comparative descriptions of the payor's products, services, facilities or company. Logos or slogans that are an established part of a payor's identity are not considered to contain qualitative or comparative descriptions.
  • A list of the payor's locations, telephone numbers, or Internet address.
  • Value-neutral descriptions, including displays or visual depictions, of the payor's product-line or services.
  • The payor's brand or trade names and product or service listing.

A posting will be considered advertising when it is not directly related to the educational purposes of the site, and contains any of the following by or for an external entity:

  • Overt inducement to purchase, sell, or use, a company, service, facility or product.
  • Qualitative or comparative language.
  • Price information or other indications of savings or value.
  • An overt endorsement.

In summary, commercial advertising is not permitted on Georgetown's websites. Consistent with current Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rulings, "Political Use" advertising is strictly forbidden on University websites.

Materials on the Georgetown University website are at all times open to review, and violations of this policy will be referred to the University webmaster who may consult with University Counsel, and/or other relevant authorities for advice on appropriate responses. Exceptions [2] to this policy may be permitted on a case-by-case basis when approved by the Provost, cognizant Executive Vice President, or the Senior Vice President, for their respective areas. Any exceptions granted will not change the fundamental recognition that certain university websites are so central to reflecting Georgetown's primary mission of education and research that they should never contain advertising. As a result, exceptions will never permit advertising on the University's home page or top-tier pages [3], or those of academic programs and departments.

Approved by Internet Business Policy Oversight Committee, October 23, 2001

Nicole Mandeville, Vice President for Finance and Treasurer
H. David Lambert, Vice President for Information Services and CIO

Approved by Core Cabinet: March 19, 2002

[1] No exceptions are permitted regarding political advertising.

[2] Georgetown University web sites are those (1) located on Georgetown University owned or maintained servers or (2) sponsored and/or operated by departments or GU entities using, not simply linking to, web servers or services from non-GU, third-party providers, regardless of domain.

[3] Top tier pages are those maintained by the GUide Committee.