Use of Systems for Mass Communication
Loyola University Chicago provides computing, networking, telephony and information resources for access and use by students, faculty, staff and other persons affiliated with the University. These resources include the access and use of Loyola University Chicago electronic mail systems. The University community is encouraged to use electronic mail to enhance productivity through the efficient cost-effective exchange of information the education, research, health care and public service missions of the University.
The University has the responsibility and duty to maintain the integrity, operation and availability of its electronic mail systems for access and use by the University community to advance the University's missions in education, research, health care and public service.
This policy pertains to the access and use of University electronic mail systems for electronic mass communications which includes chain letters, broadcast messages, electronic distribution lists and electronic discussion lists.
Use of University electronic mail systems for electronic mass communication will be regulated so as not to become a nuisance to the University community using these systems, nor to become wasteful of University computing and networking resources by creating unnecessary or excessive network traffic, nor to affect adversely, in other ways, the operation and performance of these systems. In some situations, e.g., electronic chain letters and broadcast messages about non-University business, these systems are not to be used at all.
This policy applies to all persons accessing and using University electronic mail systems. These persons include students, faculty, staff, persons retained to do University work, and any other person extended access and use privileges by the University given the availability of these systems, and in accordance with University contractual agreements and obligations.
Electronic mail systems covered
This policy applies to all electronic mail systems operated or contracted by the University, or connected to the University network. The policy also applies to any electronic mail transmission identified with an electronic mail address containing the Internet domain name assigned to the University, i.e., luc.edu.
Electronic chain letters
To initiate or facilitate the transmission and distribution of electronic chain letters (including pyramid scheme letters) through any University electronic mail system or through an electronic mail transmission which is affixed with an Internet address containing the University Internet domain, i.e., luc.edu, is prohibited regardless of its purpose and content. This activity will be viewed as a wasteful use (and therefore, an unacceptable use) of University computing and networking resources.
Electronic broadcast messages
University electronic mail systems have a mass broadcast electronic mail feature which puts electronic messages in the mail boxes of specific groups of electronic mail account owners, e.g., all accounts on the STUDENT mail server, all accounts on a group of mail servers at a particular campus, or all account owners. It is one way for alerting a portion of the University community to events and important information that needs to be conveyed quickly. It is to be used on a limited basis so as not to become a nuisance to the University community using electronic mail systems, nor to become wasteful of University computing and networking resources.
Systems administrators of University electronic mail systems may initiate and distribute electronic broadcast messages on urgent matters which relate to the availability and operation of their electronic mail systems or the University network.
All other electronic broadcast messages which are to be distributed through any University electronic mail system shall originate from the Office of Public Relations although students and student organizations can contact the Office of Student Affairs. To post electronic broadcast messages otherwise will be viewed as a wasteful use of University computing and networking resources.
In general, announcements of scheduled events that are advertised to the University through other communication channels (Loyola World, Phoenix, the Calendar of Events web page, fliers, special memos) should not be distributed as electronic broadcast messages.
Electronic distribution lists
Electronic mail messages can be sent to a single person or to a group of individuals. Mailing to groups of individuals involves sending an electronic mail message to a list of multiple electronic mail addresses of account owners, or subscribers. Persons subscribed to an electronic distribution list can usually remove their names and electronic mail addresses from a list.
Several university units have established electronic distribution lists to facilitate mass postings of messages to all persons contained on a particular electronic distribution list in an efficient manner and as a cost-reduction measure. Several colleges, schools, departments, student services departments, university committees and student organizations have set up electronic distribution lists.
An electronic distribution list is a one-way mode of electronic communication in that there is a small group of list owners who are empowered to post messages to the list. Recipients of these messages can reply back to the list owners. But their replies do not automatically go to all the persons on the list. The list owners decide whether to forward the reply to the subscribers on the list.
The Exchange electronic mail system provides for a variation of the electronic distribution list called the public group. Public groups are only accessible by Exchange account holders and are listed in the Exchange AddressBook. University units have established public groups as their means to facilitate mass postings of information to a specific group of individuals. University units have established rules and procedures for the use of these Exchange public groups.
Before a person sends an electronic mail message to a public group the sender must check with the university unit maintaining the public group. Postings to a Exchange public group without the permission of the university unit maintaining the resource will be viewed as a wasteful use of University computing and networking resources.
University units are urged to use the Exchange personal group feature in lieu of the public group feature. Personal groups do not appear in the Exchange AddressBook. The person setting up a personal group for a unit can easily share that resource with other persons using Exchange.
Electronic discussion lists, or groups
An electronic discussion list is similar in structure to an electronic distribution list. The electronic discussion list is also a list of multiple electronic mail addresses of account owners, or subscribers. Persons subscribed to an electronic discussion list can usually remove their names and electronic mail addresses from the list.
But the electronic discussion list is a two-way mode of electronic communication. Aside from having the functionality of an electronic distribution list, the electronic discussion list empowers all the list subscribers to post messages to the list, and to post replies of received messages to the list. In some cases, individuals not subscribed to the list can also post messages to the list.
Since subscribers to the list can post, receive and reply to messages originating from the list, they can effectively carry on an electronic discussion on a particular topic. When a university unit decides to set up an electronic distribution list it can elect to have the list function as well as an electronic discussion list (or listserv electronic discussion group).
Several university departments have set up electronic distribution lists to function as electronic discussion groups to facilitate mass posting of message to all persons within the department and to facilitate group discussion. Some instructors have set up similar lists for their courses to facilitate student discussion outside of the classroom
As with electronic distribution lists, electronic discussion list are managed by a small group of owners, who are usually subscribers on the list. The list owners set the rules for group membership, participation and discussion, and may moderate postings to the list, either postings from the subscribers themselves or postings from persons not subscribed the list.
Before a person sends electronic mail messages to an electronic discussion list the sender must check out the rules and procedures that apply to the particular list. Posting to an electronic discussion list without regard to the rules and regulations covering such postings to the list or without permission of the list owners will be viewed as a wasteful use of University computing and networking resources.
Concerns regarding the use of University electronic mail systems for electronic mass communications.
The University recognizes the potential of using an electronic mail system for electronic mass communications, e.g., dissemination of information to targeted groups of persons within the University community quickly, efficiently and with cost-benefits. At the same time, the University is sensitive to complaints from recipients of electronic mass communications because the messages contained information that should have been targeted to others within the University community or information which was of a non-University business nature.
The University does not have sufficient resources to support unlimited use of its electronic mail systems for electronic mass communications. Therefore, the University community is encouraged to limit their use of the University electronic mail systems for electronic mass communications and to seek alternative modes of electronic communications, e.g., electronic news groups (Usenet), electronic bulletin boards, and the Calendar of Events feature on the University website, to distribute and receive information.
University electronic mail systems make it possible for an individual to create a personal list of electronic mail addresses of several, many or all account holders on these systems. The University urges individuals to act in a responsible and ethical manner when setting up and using their personal lists of electronic mail addresses. Individuals must take care on how they target groups of e-mail account holders for their electronic mail messages. Individuals should be considerate not to send messages to those for whom the message would be irrelevant. Therefore, the University will continue to be sensitive and responsive to complaints from recipients of inappropriate electronic mass communications.
Actions of system administrators of University electronic mail systems
A system administrator of a University electronic mail system may determine within his or her discretion when it is necessary to temporarily suspend access to the electronic mail system to insure the integrity and operation of the electronic mail system and its availability to the University community.
System administrators who suspend access to University electronic mail system should report the action to the Office of Student Affairs as soon as possible, along with an explanation for taking the action. In some cases, system administrators may need to work with the Office of Student Affairs to make arrangements to permit these students sufficient access to the University electronic mail to complete course work.
Appeal of an administrative decision
Individuals who disagree with a decision of a system administrator of a University electronic mail system may submit an appeal of the decision to the appropriate resource manager or systems administrator. From there, a student may submit an appeal to the Dean of Students, a faculty member through their department administration either to the Senior Vice President Dean of Faculties or to the Senior Vice President for the Health Sciences, and a staff member through their management to the Vice President for Human Resources. Individuals must submit these appeals according to any rules and procedures issued by system administrators, or component administrators.
Noncompliance and sanctions
Reports of incidents regarding inappropriate electronic mass communications as they pertain to this policy should be referred to the Dean of Students if the alleged sender is a student, to the academic department or institute administrator, if the alleged sender is a faculty member, and to the immediate supervisor if the alleged sender is a non-faculty staff member.
Breach of or disregard for this and other policies and procedures concerning access and acceptable use of computing, networking, telephony and information resources may result in the denial or removal of access privileges by system or network administrators, and may lead to disciplinary action under the applicable University's standards of conduct, i.e., Student Handbook (students), Faculty Handbook (faculty) and Employee Handbook and Personnel Policies (staff). Additionally, such disregard may be referred to other authorities for civil litigation and criminal prosecution under applicable state and federal statutes.
As e-mail is a privilege extended to the University community to facilitate communication, staff members should use it ethically and within bounds of policy. Employees can be disciplined for unauthorized use of e-mail up to and including suspension of privileges for a particular period of time. Such actions can be taken by the department head in consultation with Human Resources as part of the Progressive Discipline procedure. If the abuse of e-mail requires more serious action, suspension from the job or even termination could result (e.g., sexual harassment via e-mail).
In some cases, the University authority handling the incident report may request that the system administrator suspend the access to a University electronic communication system by the individual under investigation. For example, the Office of the Dean of Students may request that access be suspended pending the outcome of conduct hearing process, or a department administrator may request that access be suspended for a staff person pending the outcome of an investigation or disciplinary process.
Legal context for this policy
Regarding legal context, all existing laws (local, state and federal) and University policies, regulations and rules apply, including not only those laws, policies, regulations and rules that are specific to computers and networks, but also those that apply generally to personal conduct including Policy and Procedures on Sexual Harassment and Policy and Procedures for Racial Discrimination, Abuse and Harassment.
Relationship of this policy with others
This policy supplements the Access and Acceptable Use of University Computing, Networking, Telephony, and Information Resources, Rights and Responsibilities for the Access and Use of Computing, Networking, Telephony and Information Resources, Responsibilities for the Access and Use of University Electronic Mail Systems, and the Access and Acceptable Use of Public Access Computing and Networking Facilities and Services which are available and can be found on the Loyola University Chicago website.
The University reserves the right to change the information, requirements and procedures announced in this policy. This policy will continue to be in effect until a further revision is required and promulgated. Consult the campus computing center or the appropriate system administrator for information on other policies, procedures or directives that supplement this policy.
As our experience with this policy and these issues becomes clearer, revision to it may be necessary. Suggestions from our fellow Loyolans are welcome. Suggestions and comments concerning the Policy and Guidelines Regarding Use of University Electronic Mail Systems for Electronic Mass Communications can be directed to the Information Services Advisory Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.