Electronic Communications Policy

Purpose

To guide usage of all forms of electronic communication.

Definition

For purposes of this policy statement, electronic communications includes but is not limited to electronic mail, Internet services, voice mail, audio and video conferencing, and facsimile messages that are sent or received by faculty, staff, students, and other authorized users of university resources.

Policy

Ownership of Electronic Communication and Permissible Uses

The University provides various forms of electronic communications for the purposes of conducting academic pursuits and other university business. The records created are the property of the University, not of the individuals sending or receiving such messages. Authorization to utilize electronic and voice mail is established by the Computer Center with right of appeal to the Office of the Provost. Individuals who are authorized to use electronic and voice mail may make incidental and occasional personal use of these facilities when such use does not generate a direct cost to the University. In doing so, users acknowledge the organization's ownership of the systems and its rights with regard to use.

Prohibited Uses

Prohibited uses include but are not limited to:

  1. Commercial purposes or other personal gain.
  2. Use of electronic communications to send copies of documents in violation of copyright laws.
  3. The transmission of information, access to which is restricted by laws or regulations.
  4. Use of electronic communications to intimidate, threaten, or harass other individuals, or to interfere with the ability of others to conduct university business.
  5. The forging of communication so it appears to be from someone else.
  6. Obtaining or attempting to obtain access to data, files, other electronic communication, etc. other than that for which one has proper authorization. Any attempt to breach security measures to access or acquire any electronically stored information one is not authorized to obtain is prohibited. These acts are prohibited regardless of methods utilized.
    The term "access" includes reading, deleting, moving, changing access privileges, or affecting files, data, etc. in any unauthorized manner.
  7. Use of chain letters.
  8. Electronic communications conduct is expected to meet the standards of conduct, laws, regulations, etc. published in official University, State or Federal documents including but not limited to the CSU-Pueblo catalog, the Faculty Handbook, Colorado State Employees Handbook, etc.

University Access and Disclosure

The contents of e-mail messages, backups, and archives may be required to be disclosed as a result of legal discovery, writ, warrant or subpoena, or as a result of a request under the Colorado Open Records Law. E-mail is not backed up by the Computer Center. The University will not monitor electronic communication as a routine matter. Message contents will be inspected as needed to protect health and safety or security.

Disciplinary Action

If a violation of policy is suspected, the Computer Center staff will refer the matter to appropriate authorities such as the University Police, the Provost's Office, the Personnel Office, and the Dean of Student Services. If a condition exists where Computer Center personnel feel there is a need for immediate action, that action (account deactivation, etc.) will be taken, then the matter referred to the authorities listed above. These cases will be limited to instances involving safety, security, or another matter of an emergency nature.

Electronic Communication Privacy

E-mail is not like a phone call. More information, including copies of the content of your messages, is routinely recorded about the use of e-mail than about your use of the telephone. A broader, less controlled set of people have access to that information.

E-mail is not like a letter in an envelope, and there's no easy way to mark a message "confidential." E-mail is most like a postcard. The contents of your message may be viewed during the mailing process. If there is a problem with routing, a "postmaster" may read your message to try to redirect it correctly. Your message can be forwarded or printed.

Don't put anything in an e-mail message that is not for public inspection. Do use professional, courteous language. It's much easier to edit a message before you send it, than to send an apology. If you receive mail that was not intended for you, send an appropriate reply to the sender.

System Conservation

Help conserve e-mail resources. If the system is used for trivia, it won't be available for other, more worthwhile uses. Never send junk mail or "Who are you?" messages.

Limit your use of lists as much as possible. Many of the global e-mail lists are available in other forms such as the World Wide Web. If you subscribe to a list, always make sure that you know how to unsubscribe from that list, and do so when you no longer have a use for the information from the list, or when you are going away from the University for an extended time.

Be careful when sending e-mail lists. Sending large messages to lists that may have hundreds of users can dramatically impact both the e-mail system you are using to send the message and the e-mail systems receiving the message.

Before sending to any list or replying to any message from a list, make sure that you know the guidelines and policies of that list and that you are aware of where your message is going (to the whole list, or just the person that sent the original message).

To conserve disk space, the Computer Center will purge e-mail messages over one year old. Users wishing to retain messages past that time frame should save messages to the network, their hard drive, or to floppies.

Effective: July 1, 1996