Opting Out | Marketing Practices

The Student Consent best practices detail criteria that must be met to ensure student provide genuine consent. This section deals with the opposite situation. How should marketing units respond when students do not provide consent?

Opting out is the primary (but not only) way that students control their own representation. Opting out allows students to control in what media they appear — if they will appear at all.

CONNECTION | For further discussion on choice and representation, see the appendix Multimedia Concerns.

DOs & DON’Ts 

  • DO honor the student’s choice.
  • DO ensure the student’s choice is followed broadly.

Honor Student Choice

Respect students’ decisions around their own representation. There are very few circumstances in which it is ethical to depict an individual in marketing materials when they explicitly denied your request.

However, it is possible to interpret a student’s opting out too broadly. When a student chooses not to participate, it may be useful to clarify the following. 

  • Quantity
    Is the student opting out of one photo or every photo?
  • Channel
    Is the student opting out of appearing on billboards, in social media marketing or every advertisement?
  • Representation
    Is the student opting out because they do not want to represent the GSA but will gladly represent the Chemistry department?

NOTE | All of the above are legitimate reasons for a student to decline participation. Take care that as you are negotiations the use of a student’s image, you do not coerce them into cooperation.

Tracking Student Choice

Once a student has made a decision, it is the marketing unit’s responsibility to enforce that decision across its scope of practice. Observe the following guidelines.

  • Update public libraries
    If your program maintains public libraries that staff can freely use, remove assets featuring the student. This will prevent accidental misuse.
  • Communicate with relevant partners
    Ensure relevant parties are aware of the student’s decision. For example, the College of Optometry should be informed that an optometry student has declined to represent them in all marketing materials.