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Domain Names & URLs

Introduction

The University Communications Department is responsible for managing the university's brand. As part of that responsibility, the unit oversees the use of the university's name and official marks in marketing materials and advertising. Policies for ensuring that logos and other trademarks are used appropriately in printed materials have been in effect for several years; however, a similar policy for managing domain name registrations did not exist. The attached policy is intended to address this issue by providing a process for overseeing the use of official university names in domain name registrations.

Policy Statement

Domain name registration activities at RWU 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 the "RWU" name itself or the name of any of the university's academic units, administrative units, organizations, or affiliated groups – must be approved by the Web Services team prior to registering the name.

Reason for Policy
Official university names are trade names that communicate the university's image and reputation to the public. To ensure that trade names are used appropriately and in alignment with institutional goals, the university needs to establish a policy for governing future domain name registrations.

Entities Affected by This Policy
Those who are affected by this policy include all academic and administrative units, university affiliates, and academic and administrative staff who are seeking to register a domain name. For details, refer to the Domain Naming Guidelines below.

Who Should Read This Policy

  • Provost and vice presidents
  • Deans
  • Directors
  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • Affiliated organizations & groups

University Ownership
Just as trademarks involving the name of the university or any of its units must be owned by the university, any internet address that includes "RWU" or the name of any of its individual units or affiliated groups in any form must be owned by the university. Private individuals and nonaffiliated RWU organizations or groups may not register such Internet addresses. Violations of this policy may result in legal action on the part of the university.

Appropriateness of Internet Addresses
Internet addresses should accurately describe the activity or program to which they refer. An Internet address or other use of "RWU" 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 (e.g., ucomm.rwu.edu).

Approvals for Domain Name Registrations
As in the case of other uses of the "RWU" name or the name of an official university entity, advance permission from the appropriate official(s) is required. In all cases, the Web Services team 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 college names or similar entities, the Web Services team will also clear requests with the requesting unit's dean or director prior to authorizing the request.

Hosting for Non-rwu.edu Internet Addresses
In most cases, the appropriate domain name for university activities will be "edu." For all domain name registrations outside of the RWU.edu domain (e.g., com, net, org) that include an official university name in any form, the unit must contact the Web Services team for approval prior to registering the name. Additionally, units may have to make arrangements to host the domain name on their own server (if available) or with a commercial Internet Service Provider. In such cases, the registering party will be responsible for any expenses associated with the registration or maintenance of the URL that are incurred.

Subdomain Names Set Up For External Audiences
Academic and administrative units, special programs, projects or activities whose websites are housed on the official RWU web server (www.RWU.edu) and are managed by a University Director (or above) can apply for a subdomain name (unitname.RWU.edu) through Web Services.

Groups that wish to use a RWU.edu address on a campus server other than the RWU web server must also submit their request to the Web Services team for approval. In most cases, for organizations or units within RWU, an Internet address that is substantially the same as the applicant group's official name or an already approved name will be approved. For example, the RWU School of Law would be permitted to use "law.rwu.edu."

These guidelines apply regardless of whether the subdomain uses rwu.edu or another university- or system-owned domain name. Administrators who are contacted directly with requests for subdomains that contain "RWU" or other official university names should refer the request to the Web Services team for approval.

For more specific information regarding external audience subdomains, please view the Domain Name Policy Guidelines - Requesting a RWU.edu Name below.

Subdomain Names Set Up For Internal Use
Subdomain names set up for internal (nonpublic) administrative purposes do not need approval from the Web Services team although should be submitted to ucomm@rwu.edu

Domain Naming Guidelines

The following guidelines will help you determine whether your department, organization, or group is eligible to apply for a domain name. Refer questions concerning these guidelines to the Web Communications office.

Use of the University Name
Official university names are trade names that communicate the university's image and reputation to the public. To ensure that trade names are used appropriately and in alignment with institutional goals, the university has established guidelines concerning the use of the RWU.edu domain name.

Requesting a RWU.edu Name
Campus units or entities that meet the criteria below may apply for a third-level domain name, such as ucomm.rwu.edu. Units/entities that do not qualify for a third-level domain name may still be eligible for a shorter name or address, such as departments.rwu.edu/biology or departments.rwu.edu/research.

Eligible Units/Entities
The following units/entities are eligible to request a third-level domain name if they are managed or directed by a University staff member equivalent to a Director or above:

 

  • Academic Units (colleges or schools)
  • Administrative Units (divisions or departments)
  • Institutes and Centers
  • University Organizations (e.g., Faculty Senate, Student Senate, WQRI)
  • University-wide campaigns, projects or programs (Civil Discourse, Blogs)
  • Marketing initiatives (Maps)
  • Service support systems (e.g., database, backup, and logging servers)
  • University/Enterprise applications (Scalix)

Ineligible Units/Entities or Requests
The following units/entities are not eligible to request a third-level name:

  • Academic Departments
  • Academic Programs
  • Student Clubs
  • Research projects, labs, and seminars
  • Individuals (e.g., johndoe.rwu.edu)
  • Units requesting additional web addresses to work around websites that are poorly designed. This issue should be resolved by redesigning the website to correct problems with site structure and navigation.
  • Units requesting web addresses to work around typographical errors made in URLs that appear in marketing or advertising materials (e.g. ucomm.rwu.edu)

Naming GuidelinesRequests for third-level domain names must meet the following guidelines:

  • Names must consist of the format xxxxx.RWU.edu.
  • One name will be allowed per eligible unit or entity (e.g., law.rwu.edu or lawschool.rwu.edu, but not both).
  • Names should reasonably reflect the nature or purpose of the website (e.g., ucomm.rwu.edu).
  • Names must consist of two or more letters (e.g., e.rwu.edu is not acceptable).

Alternatives
Entities that do not meet the criteria for a third-level domain name may still be eligible for an alternative name/address. Addresses for these sites should reflect their affiliation with an academic or administrative unit.

Examples include: departments.rwu.edu/biology or ucomm.rwu.edu/web

Another option for web addresses is to request a shorter URL, such as the following :fcas.rwu.edu/placement

These types of URLs are appropriate for academic programs, advising centers, and services offered within a unit.

Exceptions
Exceptions for third-level names within the rwu.edu domain may be allowed only if all of the following conditions are met:

  • The proposed name is not likely to be confused with a RWU department or unit.
  • The proposed name will be used by many people from many different organizations either within or outside the university. (Example: postoffice.rwu.edu, which is the university's official method for communicating with e-mail)
  • The proposed name is the name of a service and not the name of a department or other organizational unit. (Example: my.rwu.edu, which encompasses a variety of services offered to the entire university community)
  • The proposed name is for a university-wide service or institutional initiative that is not easily identified with a single department or unit, or it is for a service that is being offered primarily to people or groups that are outside the university and who are not likely to be familiar with the details of the university's internal organizational structure. (Examples: campaign.rwu.edu, maps.rwu.edu)
  • The proposed name is not now, and is not likely to become, ambiguous if it is used without other department or unit qualification. (Example: maps.rwu.edu)
  • The proposed name is not likely to be the subject of frequent changes that would be better dealt with at the department/unit level. (Example: welcome.rwu.edu)
  • The placement of the proposed name as a third-level domain name within rwu.edu has the approval of the unit administrator of the school, college, institute, or unit to which the name would otherwise be associated.
  • The proposed name is approved by the Web Services team and the Department of Information Technology dependent on future web initiatives/plans.

Making a Request
To request a third-level domain name, fourth-level domain name, or alternative URL, please visit the Web Services Requests & Forms page.

Appeals
Departments/entities whose requests are not approved can appeal by contacting the University Webmaster at webmaster@rwu.edu. Appeals will be referred to the Departments of University Communications and Information Technology for review.

Definitions
Third-level Domain Name: These names consist of a single word placed before the unlv.edu part of the domain name. Examples include department.rwu.edu or college.unlv.edu.

Fourth-level Domain Name: These names reflect their affiliation with an academic or administrative unit, such as program.department.rwu.edu or server.department.unlv.edu.

Alternative URL: These addresses take advantage of their parent organization's third-level domain name. Examples include college.rwu.edu/advising or department.rwu.edu