Writing with Professionalism and Equity

Within all written communication, Moreno Valley College strives to uphold a high standard that embraces professionalism, eloquence, and equity and inclusion. MVC's editorial identity is primarily governed by the Riverside Community College District Writing Style Guide.

Voice and Tone

Moreno Valley College's editorial approaches can be divided into two areas based on the medium: formal and casual. In most cases, RCCD follows Associated Press (AP) style guidelines, with some adjustment for in-house rules. Depending on approach, however, the tone of a composition may be adjusted to hit its target audience, as will the complexity of the language used to write it.

When writing news releases, public relations and long-form marketing publications, and other collateral material, RCCD follows AP style guidelines and uses formal, collegial language. The assumed reading level for the formal approach is typically high school to post-secondary.

When writing short-form and digital content geared toward students, RCCD follows AP style but allows for more casual language, including more frequent use of "our," "you" and "we." The goal of the casual editorial approach is to convey a welcoming, friendly tone and to meet a baseline reading level of eighth grade. You will see this approach in social media, on student-facing web pages, videos as well as some promotional material. Even when using a casual editorial approach, MVC's standards for capitalization, punctuation, acronyms and other basic writing rules apply.

General do's and don'ts:

  • Use only one space after a punctuation mark.
  • Refrain from using contractions.
  • Use active voice when writing and definite, specific, concrete language. Be clear and accurate with your message.
  • Write with nouns and verbs, avoid the use of qualifiers (very, all, little, pretty) and stay away from long, noun-heavy or adjective-heavy sentences.
  • Do not use courtesy titles other than Dr. for a medical doctor, except in direct quotations. Otherwise, refer to both men and women by first and last name on first reference and last name in subsequent references.

Numbering: Spell out one through five except when referring to numberical measures (6 percent, $8). Use Arabic numerals for 5+ except at the beginning of sentences.

Punctuation:

  • Do not use serial commas. Example: use "a, b and c" not "a, b, and c." All commas and periods go within quotes.
  • Do not put periods (.) between the letters of any acronym.

Acronyms:

  • Do not use abbreviations or acronyms that the reader would not quickly recognize. Spell out the first time (followed with abbreviation).
  • Academic degrees: If a mention of degrees is necessary, attempt to avoid abbreviation and use a phrase such as: John Jones, who has a doctorate in psychology. Use such abbreviations as BA, MA, Ed.D. and Ph.D. only when the need to identify individuals by degree on first reference would make the preferred form cumbersome, and only after a full name.

Capitalization:

  • Academic departments: Use lowercase except for words that are proper nouns or adjectives.
  • Academic titles: Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as chancellor, chairman, etc., when they precede a name. Lowercase elsewhere.
  • Languages should be capitalized while other subjects are lower case.
  • Words that are used generally, such as staff counselors, students, information sessions should be lowercase.
  • Use upper case when identifying degree discipline.

Date and time:

  • Using am and pm: Lowercase, without periods. When the time overlaps am and pm, use both: 10 am to 3 pm; when within the same period, use 9 to 11 am.
  • Time stamps: Do not use :00 in time stamps except in formal invitations. Use 1 pm.
  • Midnight and noon: Use numerical figures for time except for midnight and noon. Do not use 12 am (midnight) or 12 pm (noon).
  • Year: When promoting an upcoming event, omit the year.

Disclaimers

All outgoing marketing directed at students and the community, including flyers, posters, and written advertisements, must have the appropriate disclaimer included. For general use, RCCD's discrimination disclaimers are available in short and long versions. The long version is used in long-format documents where space is not an issue and the short version on flyers, brochures, and other recruitment documents. For questions related to usage or legality, please contact RCCD's General Counsel at (951) 222-8001.

Include short version disclaimer on flyers, pamphlets, student services, counseling, career transfer center brochures.

The Riverside Community College District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies or practices: District Compliance Officer, 3801 Market Street, Riverside, CA 92501, or (951) 222-8039.

Include long version disclaimer in multi-page documents like catalogs, class schedules, student handbooks. Use in places where space is not an issue.

The Riverside Community College District complies with all federal and state rules and regulations and does not discriminate on the basis of ethnic group identification, national origin, religion, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race or ethnicity, color, ancestry, genetic information, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, veteran or military status, or any characteristic listed or defined in Section 11135 of the Government Code or any characteristic that is contained in the prohibition of hate crimes set forth in subdivision (1) of Section 422.6 of the California Penal Code, or any other status protected by law. This holds true for all students who are interested in participating in education programs and/ or extracurricular school activities. Limited English speaking skills will not be a barrier to admission or participation in any programs. Harassment of any employee or student with regard to ethnic group identification, national origin, religion, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race or ethnicity, color, ancestry, genetic information, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, veteran or military status, or any characteristic listed or defined in Section 11135 of the Government Code or any characteristic that is contained in the prohibition of hate crimes set forth in subdivision (1) of Section 422.6 of the California Penal Code, or any other status protected by law is strictly prohibited. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or practices: District Compliance Officer, 3801 Market Street, Riverside, CA 92501, or (951) 222-8039.

Include disclaimer on flyers, brochures, pamphlets relating to financial aid.

All applications for financial assistance programs (i.e. student loans, work compensation, grants, scholarships, special funds, subsidies, prizes, etc.) will be considered by the Riverside Community College District without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or practices: District Compliance Officer, 3801 Market Street, Riverside, CA 92501, or (951) 222-8039.

Include disclaimer on flyers relating to ASMVC, ASNC, ASRCC or College events. Example: Feed America concert, Harvest Festival, Read 2 Succeed, Art Gallery exhibits, etcetera.

Riverside Community College District is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation to all District programs and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the program/event organizer, ________________________ (insert name and contact number) by ______________________ (insert a date that will be no less than 3 days before the event). Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Include abbreviated disclaimer on Perkins grants flyers and brochures.

This project was funded fully or in part by Carl D. Perkins CTE Act of 2006 grant no. 17-C01-045 awarded to Riverside Community College District (RCCD) and administered by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. RCCD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or practices: District Compliance Officer, 3801 Market Street, Riverside, CA 92501, or (951) 222-8039.

Include disclaimer on Perkins specific flyers, handbooks, booklets where space is not an issue.

This project was funded fully or in part by Carl D. Perkins CTE Act of 2006 grant no. 17-C01-045 awarded to Riverside Community College District (RCCD) and administered by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. RCCD complies with all federal and state rules and regulations. RCCD does not discriminate, and harassment of any employee or student is strictly prohibited, on the basis of ethnic group identification, national origin, religion, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race or ethnicity, color, ancestry, genetic information, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, military or veteran status, or any characteristic listed or defined in Section 11135 of the Government Code or any characteristic that is contained in the prohibition of hate crimes set forth in subdivision (1) of Section 422.6 of the California Penal Code, or any other status protected by law. This holds true for all students interested in participating in education programs, including career and technical education programs, and/or extracurricular school activities. Limited English speaking skills will not be a barrier to admission or participation in any programs. Harassment of any employee or student of RCCD with regard to ethnic group identification, national origin, religion, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race or ethnicity, color, ancestry, genetic information, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, military or veteran status, or any characteristic listed or defined in Section 11135 of the Government Code or any characteristic that is contained in the prohibition of hate crimes set forth in subdivision (1) of Section 422.6 of the California Penal Code, or any other status protected by law is strictly prohibited. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or practices: District Compliance Officer, 3801 Market Street, Riverside, CA 92501, or (951) 222-8039.