Administrative Policies

AD52 Links to or from Penn State Web Pages

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Rachel Pell, 814-865-7517,

Policy Steward: 

Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff


  • Purpose
  • General
  • Definitions
  • Policy
  • .... Links to Penn State Pages From Outside Sites
  • .... Links from Penn State Pages to Other Sites
  • Further Information
  • Cross References

    To set forth procedures for the use of links to commercial or profit-making Web sites from University Web pages or other media, or to Penn State pages from other sites.


    Penn State University does not generally prohibit links to its websites, provided that any such links do not imply an endorsement by or affiliation with Penn State, or otherwise adversely impact Penn State. Penn State has no control over the content of third-party websites or social media pages, and accepts no responsibility for them or for any loss or damage that may arise from their use.

    Links from Penn State web pages to third-party commercial sites are generally not permitted. It is important for Penn State to maintain its non-profit status and avoid commercial links that could jeopardize that status.

    At the same time, the University is engaged in many partnerships and joint projects with companies across the width and breadth of the academic enterprise, and finds it advantageous on occasion to recognize contributions from its partners by placing links to the partner’s sites.


    "Link" as used in this document, means any text or graphic device that enables a user to "point" to any other web document, anywhere in the world, and open it.


    Links to Penn State web pages from outside, third-party websites are generally permissible as long as there is no implied endorsement by or affiliation with the University. Any third-party linking to a Penn State web page may not use the University’s logo as the link without first receiving permission from the University’s Office of Strategic Communications or the Office of Licensing Programs.

    No link may appear on any outside web page or within any context containing content or materials that may be interpreted as libelous, obscene, or criminal, or which infringes, otherwise violates, or advocates the infringement or other violation of any third-party rights.

    Penn State retains the right at any time, without cause, to ask for the removal of a link to a Penn State web page on any third-party website.


    It is the policy of the University to limit commercial links to those sites that have a direct connection to the functions of the University, and to prohibit commercial links that are unrelated to the operations of the University.

    Certain types of links have been granted blanket exemptions by the Vice President for Strategic Communications. A current listing is available.

    Links to any other sites require the approval of the Vice President for Strategic Communications or his/her designee. Requests for approval must identify the website and each link, and provide an explanation/justification of the use of each link.


    For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of Strategic Communications.


    Other policies in this manual should also be referenced, especially the following:

    AD07 - Use of University Name, Symbols, and/or Graphic Devices

    AD08 - Purchase of advertising

    AD27 - Commercial Sales Activities at University Locations

    AD61 - University Communications Through Advertising, Publications and Media Relations

    AD95 - Information Assurance and IT Security

    FN11 - Contracts and Leases

    FN14 - Use of Tangible Assets, Equipment, Supplies and Services

    FN27 - Establishing and Billing Service Center User Rates

    HR33 - Help Wanted Advertising

    Most recent changes:

    • November 24, 2020 - Updated link from decommissioned policy AD15 to FN27 in Cross References.

    Revision History (and effective dates):

    • August 24, 2018 - Editorial changes to update links from AD20 to AD95.
    • November 13, 2014 - Edits have been made to the GENERAL, LINKS TO PENN STATE PAGES FROM OUTSIDE SITES and LINKS FROM PENN STATE PAGES TO OTHER SITES sections to reflect current regulations.

    • May 11, 2011 - GENERAL section streamlined. References to the Executive Director of University Relations changed TO the Vice President for University Relations, as applicable throughout the policy.
    • August 18, 2005 - Editorial changes to reflect that cross references to former policy AD10, "University Publications Program," and policy AD45, " University Marketing Policy Statement," have been replaced with policy AD61, " University Communications Through Advertising, Publications and Media Relations."
    • January 28, 2000 - Clarified the 'LINKS FROM PENN STATE PAGES' section; added addendum of blanket exemptions.

    Date Approved: 

    November 10, 2014

    Date Published: 

    November 13, 2014

    Effective Date: 

    November 13, 2014