Email Usage Policy

Overview

Saint Peter’s University must be able to communicate quickly and efficiently with employees and enrolled students in order to conduct official university business. Email is one such available and appropriate medium for communication. This Email Usage Policy serves to Identify how email is provided to users and terms and conditions thereof; describe permitted usage of provided email accounts; describe and provide examples of misuse of email accounts; present the terms under which “email forwarding” can occur, and define how violations of this policy are handled.

Audience

Public

Applicability

This policy applies to University faculty and visiting faculty, staff, students, alumni, contractors, volunteers, and guests who are provided email services managed by or for Saint Peter’s University, as well as any other individuals who use or maintain a Saint Peter’s University provisioned email account.

Principles

Account Creation

All members of the University community are provided an SPU email address at the time they are admitted to the University (in the case of students) or hired (in the case of employees.)   Volunteers, contractors and other guests may also be assigned an SPU email address with appropriate approval. 

Your SPU email address is assigned based on your official name as recorded in your student or employee records at the time your account is created.  Requests for name changes to correct a discrepancy between your SPU email address and official University records will be processed, in which case the email account name will be corrected. This could be due to error or a person legally changing their name.

Responsibilities

Community members are provided an SPU email address to serve as the primary means of communication and to improve education and administrative efficiency.  Everyone has a responsibility to use this resource in an efficient, ethical and lawful manner. Use of the assigned SPU email address evidences the user's agreement to be bound by this policy. In the event a community member is provided multiple SPU email addresses, the most stringent rules of this policy shall apply.

In order to prevent unauthorized use of email accounts, the sharing of passwords is strictly prohibited. Each individual is responsible for his/her account, including the safeguarding of access to the account. All email originating from an account is assumed to have been authored by the account holder, and it is the responsibility of that holder to ensure compliance with these guidelines.

All University communications to employees and students that are sent by email will be sent to the SPU email address associated with that employee or student.

University Employees and students are expected to review messages received through their SPU email address on a frequent and consistent basis.

Saint Peter’s University faculty and staff generating University-related email communications to students or other employees should use their SPU email address to send these communications.

Faculty and staff should use the SPU email address for any email communication with students. They should also clearly explain this expectation to their students and help communicate this requirement to them.

University faculty who are provided Instructor-level access on the Learning Management System (LMS) may use this tool to communicate to students, as emails sent via this service will be directed to the recipients’ SPU email addresses.

Use of Personal Email Accounts

All email used to conduct University business must be transmitted via your SPU email address.

In order to avoid confusing official University business with personal communications, employees must never use non-university email accounts (e.g. personal, Verizon, Comcast, etc.) to conduct Saint Peter’s University business.

In order to avoid confusing official University business with personal communications, students must never use non-university email accounts (e.g. personal, Verizon, Comcast, etc.) when communicating with University Staff, Faculty, or Administration.

For volunteers, contractors and other guests, a request for an SPU email address to be created must be submitted on their behalf by a Department chair or other authorized individual. Once the account has been set up, the volunteers, contractors and other guests must adhere to this policy.

The following exceptions may apply:

  • For Employees, during the onboarding process, prior to the SPU email address being assigned, communications to and from HR may take place using a provided personal email address. Once their University Email account has been created and the employee has been provided with information on how to set up their password and access their SPU email address, official university communications will only be sent to this email account going forward.

  • For Students, during the initial enrollment process, prior to the SPU email address being set up, communications to and from the University may take place using a provided personal email address. Once their SPU email address has been created and the student has been provided with information on how to set up their password and access their SPU email address, official university communications will only be sent to the SPU email address going forward.

Forwarding of Email

Students and Adjunct Faculty may forward their SPU email address to any VALID email address, and are responsible for updating their forwarding email should it change.

Staff and full-time faculty may NOT forward their email to a non-Saint Peter’s University account. Staff and full-time faculty may forward their SPU email address to another SPU email address if they have more than one. For example, someone who is both a student and a staff member may forward their Student SPU email address to their Employee SPU email address. The University will not be held responsible for any unread/lost/misdirected messages associated with email forwarding being set up by the Employee/Student.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Saint Peter’s University owns all SPU email addresses and associated data. Subject to underlying copyright and other intellectual property rights under applicable laws and Saint Peter’s University policies, the university also owns data transmitted or stored using the SPU email address.

While Saint Peter’s University will make every attempt to keep email messages secure, privacy is not guaranteed, and users should have no general expectation of privacy in email messages sent through a SPU email address. Under certain circumstances, it may be necessary for IT staff or other appropriate University officials to access University Email Accounts. These circumstances may include, but are not limited to, maintaining the system, investigating security or abuse incidents, or investigating violations of this or other University policies, and, in the case of Gmail Accounts, violations of Google’s Acceptable Use Policy or the University’s contracts with Google. IT staff or University officials may also require access to an SPU email address in order to continue University business where the University Email Account holder will not or can no longer access the SPU email address for any reason (such as death, disability, illness or separation from the University for a period of time or permanently). Such access will be on an as-needed basis and any email accessed will only be disclosed to individuals who have been properly authorized and have an appropriate need to know or as required by law.

All email users are bound by the appropriate acceptable use policy of both Saint Peter’s University and Google. Google also retains the right to access all Google accounts for violations of its Acceptable Use Policy. (http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/admins/use_policy.html)

For reasons relating to compliance, security or legal proceedings (e.g., subpoenas) or in an emergency or in exceptional circumstances, University leadership on advice of legal counsel may authorize the reading, blocking or deletion of email content. In particular, in the context of a litigation or an investigation, it may be necessary to access email content with potentially relevant information. 

The University may record information about certain data elements of email messages in the course of monitoring or maintaining its email systems. These data include, but are not limited to: (a) the identity and address of the authenticated sender, (b) the address of the recipient, (c) the size of the message, (d) the transmission time, (e) the headers of the email, (f) the subject of the message, (g) the number of attachments and (h) certain features that are used to identify spam.

Misuse of Email

Please note that any policy of Saint Peter’s University that applies to communications also applies to email use. Use of Email in violation of other University policies is also a violation of this policy.

See the Saint Peter’s University Acceptable Use Policy (https://www.saintpeters.edu/its/policies/acceptable-use-policy/) for more details.

Examples of improper uses of University email:

  • Concealment or misrepresentation of names or affiliations (e.g., misrepresenting oneself as another user, impersonation of another user or group)

  • Use of email to send spam (unsolicited non-University commercial email), unless explicitly approved by the appropriate University authority

  • Use of email to violate the University’s policy on Harassment and Discrimination (Sending obscene or harassing messages)

  • Using or attempting to use the accounts of others without their permission.

  • Collecting or using email addresses, screen name information or other identifiers without the consent of the person identified (including without limitation, phishing, spidering, and harvesting).

  • Use of the service to distribute software that covertly gathers or transmits information about an individual.

  • Conducting business for profit under the aegis of the University.

  • Political activities, specifically supporting the nomination of any person for political office or attempting to influence the vote in any election or referendum on behalf of or under the sponsorship of the University.

This list is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather to provide some illustrative examples.

 

Enforcement

Violations of this policy will be handled under normal University disciplinary procedures applicable to the relevant persons or departments. 

In addition to liability and penalties that may be imposed under international, federal, state or local laws, IT users who fail to fulfill their responsibilities and engage in prohibited conduct may be subject to disciplinary action. The University may restrict or suspend user privileges while the alleged violation(s) are being investigated and adjudicated. In the event of restriction or suspension of email privileges, a reasonable effort will be made to accommodate the needs of the individual during the investigatory period. Disciplinary action shall be taken by the Dean of Students, relative to student violations, and by the appropriate University officer, relative to faculty, staff, and/or University affiliate violations.

Student disciplinary action may include, by way of illustration and not limitation, the following:

  1. loss of Email privileges on a temporary or permanent basis,

  2. disciplinary probation, suspension, and/or dismissal from the University.

Employee discipline may include, by way of illustration and not limitation, the following:

  1. verbal or written warning or reprimand;

  2. suspension or dismissal from employment at the University; and/or

  3. employee use of Email may be altered, restricted, or denied.

Affiliate discipline may include, but not be limited to, the following:

  1. verbal or written warning;

  2. suspension or cancellation of the contract or license with the University.

In addition, a violation may result in:

  • suspension, blocking, or restriction of access to information and network resources when it reasonably appears necessary to do so in order to protect the integrity, security, or functionality of University resources or to protect the University from liability;

  • disciplinary action up to and including separation from the University;

  • a department being held financially responsible for the costs incurred as a result of a data breach, loss or illegal disclosure.

The Chief Judicial Officer manages the overall Judicial system for the University. Specific responsibilities for disciplinary interventions and resolutions rest with various departments as designated by the Chief Judicial Officer. There is also a mutual and shared educational responsibility which Saint Peter’s University promotes, allowing for cooperation and collaboration between University departments regarding student conduct issues.  

The University Student Code of Conduct policy can be found here.

 

Approval

Approved by the IT Governance Committee on January 14, 2020.

Details

Article ID: 110019
Created
Mon 6/15/20 3:03 PM
Modified
Wed 9/28/22 8:19 AM

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