Electronic mail is available to facilitate the professional and business work of persons employed at Amarillo College. It provides a way to communicate with individuals and with designated groups. Amarillo College encourages appropriate use of E-mail to enhance productivity through the efficient exchange of information in furtherance of education, public service and the expression of ideas. Use of this resource must be consistent with these concepts. As a responsible member of the college community, employees are expected to act in accordance with the following general guidelines. These guidelines are not meant to be all-inclusive. Generally accepted practices of common sense, decency, civility and legality should be taken in to account when E-mail is utilized.
The Information Technology Service (ITS) staff is charged with maintaining the hardware, software and network for maximum efficiency of the E-mail system. Lack of adherence to these guidelines will adversely impact the capabilities of campus-wide servers. ITS staff will counsel with individuals whose practices impinge on the capabilities of the services and assist them in reducing their drain on resources.
Messages sent as electronic mail should meet the same standards for distribution or display as if they were tangible documents. The user should identify himself or herself clearly and accurately in all electronic communications. A user's concealing or misrepresenting identity or affiliation is inappropriate. Alteration of the source of electronic mail or its message is unethical and illegal. Such action can get Amarillo College blacklisted as a spammer.
Electronic mail is the property of the college; however, no attempt to access another's electronic mail by unauthorized individuals will be allowed. ITS employees may, from time to time, have a need to access a user's E-mail for routine purposes of repair, upgrades, etc. Concerning the issue of federal law governing privacy, network system administrators will not intentionally access the content of E-mail messages and if content is accidentally accessed, it will be treated as confidential.
The user is asked to be sensitive to the inherent limitations of shared network resources. No computer security system can absolutely prevent unauthorized access to its files. The college will be unable to guarantee absolute privacy and confidentiality of electronic documents. Password security and confidentiality are the responsibility of the user. ITS will provide guidelines for the frequency of change and the nature of passwords. In keeping with good judgement, users should create electronic documents as if they were to be made available to the public.
Abusive, threatening, or harassing E-mail is prohibited. While debate on controversial issues is inevitable and essential at an educational institution, that E-mail of a debate nature should advance the cause of learning and mutual understanding.
The user is expected to promote efficient use of network resources consistent with the instructional, research, public service and administrative goals of the college. The user is expected to refrain from any use that would interfere with another's work or disrupt network resources. The user should avoid wasteful and disruptive practices such as allowing large amounts of E-mail to go unattended, spreadingchain letters, or sending of other unsolicited material. Restraint in the use of the Everyone feature of the E-mail software is expected of the user.
E-mail and other network resources may not be used for commercial purposes or for personal financial gain. This does not preclude the user from investigating the relative advantages or disadvantages of a potential college-purchased product.
Standards of conduct expected of students, faculty and staff in regard to the use of telephones, libraries and other institutional resources apply to E-mail. Users will be held accountable for their actions, as they would be when using other forms of communication.
Examples of Acceptable Uses of E-mail
The distribution of minutes of various committees as well as other notices of general interest to all faculty and staff.
The use of personal groups is appropriate in circumstances, such as updating mailing lists, announcing committee assignments, and distributing facts about pending legislation.
Use of Everyone Group
The user is not to use the Everyone Group to send recipes, jokes or humor, large attatchments, requests for placement of a pet, distribution of any form of spam, or any non-college related announcement.
Examples of Inappropriate Uses of E-mail
Announcement of the sale of personal property or the solicitation of support for a particular political position. However, point-to-pointcommunication with governmental representatives is acceptable.
User subscription to listserves is an acceptable method of keeping current on many issues. The user is expected to confine subscriptions to a limited number and not backlog the E-mail system with large number of unattended items.
The sending of large attachments such as personal photographic images is strongly discouraged.
The user is expected to be honest, legal, ethical and consider what he or she is sending before sending it. Abuse of computing privileges and any violations of these guidelines and policies established by the college will be treated as a serious matter. By using the college's E-mail system, the user agrees to abide by these policies. These policies are subject to change as technology advances, legal outcomes, or other unforeseen events may occur.
Sending Mass E-Mailings to Students
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance on the appropriate use of mass e-mailings to the student population. For the purposes of this policy, “mass e-mailings” are considered those sent to the entire student body or a subset of students larger than a department, program, or satellite campus.
This policy does not limit the right of individual faculty members, departments, programs, or satellite campus directors to send e-mails to their respective constituencies nor does it limit the right of the College Relations Office to use prospective student email addresses for marketing and recruitment purposes.
All requests for student e-mail address extracts from the Student database must be initiated through the Registrar.
Mass e-mailings are an internal form of communication to be used for official academic and administrative purposes only. The sale/distribution of AC student e-mail addresses to non-AC entities is prohibited, except as allowed by FERPA regulations. In such cases where distribution is allowed, the request must be fulfilled by the Registrar’s office.
E-mail addresses extracted for purposes of mass mailings may only be used by officially designated “Gatekeepers” - individuals assigned responsibility to approve mass e-mailings for certain student populations. They should never be provided to “end-users”.
Mass e-mailing approvals will be handled by various Gatekeepers as follows:
- Academic mass e-mailings to the entire student body or a subset greater than the Division level must have the approval of the Vice President of Academic Affairs (or designee).
- Academic mass e-mailings to a subset of students at the Division level must have the approval of the appropriate Division Chair (or designee).
- Administrative mass e-mailings to students must have the approval of the Dean of Student and Academic Development (or designee) regardless of the student population targeted.
- Recruitment-oriented mass e-mailings to prospective students must have the approval of the Dean of College Advancement (or designee), regardless of the size of the population targeted.
- Mass e-mailings to all students will be restricted to those messages that are considered to be an emergency, time-sensitive, or critical to support the academic and administrative functions of the College.
Examples of appropriate mass e-mails to all students include issues involving College facilities or affecting working/teaching conditions, such as power outages or building closures; essential or urgent official administrative e-mail from College departments, such as financial aid and registration information, policy and procedure dissemination, and technology updates.
Examples of inappropriate mass e-mails to students include those from non-AC entities; for personal gain; from an individual rather than a College department; optional student event announcements; chain letters; general broadcast messages or announcements (clubs, student government, intramural events, theater); for unlawful purposes; containing information of a confidential or sensitive nature; promotion of political viewpoints; surveys that do not serve sanctioned College purposes; messages containing confidential information such as course grades, financial aid award amounts, or tuition/fee payment amounts.
- Keep messages simple and direct.
- Ensure that any non-directory information (see FERPA for definition of directory information) is sent only to the student.
- Use plain text in messages--do not include HTML or formatted content.
- Format messages so that lines wrap at 72 characters or less.
- Include the name, title, and e-mail address of both the sender and the approving Gatekeeper.
- Include the recipient e-mail addresses in the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) field if the e-mail is sent to more than one individual at a time.
- Include requestor’s phone number/extension.
- The e-mail cannot contain attachments (links to web pages should be used instead).
- Content and grammar are the responsibility of the requestor.
- When a message is to be sent to more than 1,000 students, send separate mailings in groups of no more than 1,000 email addresses.
Make request to Registrar and obtain proper approval, obtain email listing, compose message and send.
Requests for mass e-mailings can be submitted by filling out the web-based request form located on the Registrar’s Intranet site.
Turnaround time goals for sending mass e-mailings are:
- As soon as possible for critical e-mailings;
- Within 3 business days for standard e-mailings;
- Within 3 business days of receiving the student population extract from the Registrar’s Office for specialized populations.
Violations of any part of this policy may result in disciplinary action as prescribed by College policies and procedures.