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Introduction. The Brazilian federal government has a navigation bar at the top of every one of its websites. This is a visual identity strategy. The presidency has published a norm that obliges the whole of the federal government to use such bar. (It makes perfect sense.)

Question. Does that mean that a federal university must put such bar at top of its website? Many federal universities don't do it (or haven't done it yet). Some do. I'm interested in understanding whether the legislation obliges a federal university and whether it does it correctly. (This is not a question whether a university should or should not use the bar.)

(It's a huge plus if you can provide any known cases with decisions by the Brazilian Supreme Court that might apply.)

Discussion. The Presidency published a norm (called IN 8 of 2014) that obliges every entity of the federal executive to use the bar. The second clause in specifies that IN8 applies to every entity that publishes a website in the domains of the federal government. Is the domain of a federal university a domain of the federal government? Perhaps "domain of the federal government" is merely gov.br?

Art. 1º Esta Instrução Normativa disciplina a implantação e a gestão da Identidade Padrão de Comunicação Digital das propriedades digitais de órgãos e entidades do Poder Executivo Federal, prevista no art. 3º, inciso I, do Decreto nº 6.555, de 8 de setembro de 2008.

Art. 2º O disposto nesta Instrução Normativa se aplica aos órgãos e entidades da administração federal que mantenham ou venham a manter sítios ou portais nos domínios do Poder Executivo federal, perfis nas redes sociais, aplicativos e demais propriedades digitais.

Parágrafo único. É facultado o uso dos elementos da Identidade Padrão de Comunicação Digital às empresas públicas e sociedades de economia mista e obrigatória a utilização da barra de identidade visual do Governo Federal na internet em todos os casos.

Source: https://www.gov.br/governodigital/pt-br/legislacao/IN82014consolidadacomanovaredao.pdf

As far as I have checked, it does seem like a federal university would be bound to the orders of the presidency. The rector of the university is formally pointed out by the president by decree. The money the university gets every year is handed out by the Ministry of Education.

However, keep in mind that the federal constitution expressly gives federal universities autonomy not only in teaching and scientific matters, but also administrative and financial autonomy.

as universidades gozam de autonomia didático-científica, administrativa e de gestão financeira e patrimonial, e obedecerão ao princípio de indissociabilidade entre ensino, pesquisa e extensão. (Article 207, federal constitution from 1988.)

Does autonomy in publishing its website, say, fall under administrative autonomy? That's roughly what I'm trying to ascertain merely from the point of view of the law.

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  • You are confusing a design element (the top bar) with the URL. They are very different concepts
    – SJuan76
    Mar 1 at 2:22
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    @SJuan76 the question looks valid to me. I don't see any confusion. The question is exclusively about the top bar.
    – sourcream
    Mar 1 at 16:23

2 Answers 2

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Does autonomy in publishing its website, say, fall under administrative autonomy?

I would say so.

It is hard to have a definitive answer because this question has not been asked by many people. Consequently, I could not find any academic references or court cases to back a strong argument for or against the obligation.

On the other hand, the weak evidence I could find points in the direction of universities not being obligated to follow specific federal government site layout guidelines.

First, as you already mentioned, universities have a certain degree of autonomy granted by the Constitution. STF has ruled that this autonomy includes:

  1. Issuing diplomas for courses that have not been recognized by the federal government [1].
  2. Demanding proof of COVID-19 vaccination from students even when oriented by the government not to do that [2].
  3. Deciding when a new campus will be built [3].

I would argue that choosing their site's own visual identity needs much less autonomy than the previous examples.

Second, while some federal universities do adopt the government's top bar in their sites, some don't, and those which do don't use other "mandatory" elements. The lack of enforcement attempts by the government is indicative that they could not find any legal basis to do that.

Finally, in a recent consultation, representatives of UFPA claimed they are not obliged to use federal government site templates due to universities' "specific nature and structure" [4].

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A university would usually be in the edu.br domain, not the gov.br domain

Unless the law has a different definition of domain, when talking about urls, that’s what it means.

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    I believe you misunderstood the question. It's about the gov.br top bar, not exactly about the gov.br domain. Also, it's not true that federal universities are in the edu.br domain.
    – sourcream
    Mar 1 at 15:15

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