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 not appropriate. Alteration of the source of electronic mail or its message is unethical and possibly illegal.
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, spreading "chain 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.