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Mass Email List Policy

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Table of Contents

I. Purpose and Definitions

II. Approvals for Creating a Mass Email List

III. Types of Mass Email Lists

IV. Methods for Sending Mass Email Messages

V. Recommended Guidelines for Mass Electronic Mailing

VI. To Report a Mass Email Violation

I. Purpose and Definitions

Email (electronic mail) is an important resource for academic and administrative communications. The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines on the approval and creation of email lists for large-volume electronic mailings to members of the campus community. Nothing in this policy is intended to interfere with faculty or collegiate communication with students.

University mass electronic lists are intended to be used primarily for communicating official University business, including employee and student academic pursuits, and employee administrative, personnel, and/or business matters.

Any University email account holder who initiates a mass emailing will be accountable under this policy, the University Electronic Communications and Acceptable Use Policy, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) policy, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Security (HIPAA) policy, and other related IT account usage policies.

This policy is primarily for use by internal email senders. It provides guidance, but cannot eliminate or control mass email or spam generated by individuals or groups outside the University.

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II. Approvals for Creating a Mass Email List

Approvals for Creating a Mass Email List

Specific protocols for mass email communications with each campus constituency is governed by a designated office that maintains rules such as the frequency, acceptable purposes, and recipients of any campus communication*.

Requests for creation of mass email lists will be considered and approved according to the protocols defined by these offices:

Message Recipients

Governing Office

Students

Office of the Registrar or the Office of Student Life

Faculty members

Office of Academic Affairs

Staff members, affiliates, and retirees

Office of Human Resources

Selected faculty members, staff members, and/or students related to research study recruitment messages

Institutional Review Board (in consultation with appropriate Vice President or designee)

Parents of current students

Office of Student Life

Alumni and other persons included in Advancement records

Office of Advancement

Not all requests for mass email lists will be honored. Requesters may be asked to provide additional documentation regarding the granting of a List so approvers can consider its relevance to University business. In some cases, Information Services may recommend alternative communication methods that would better serve the purpose of the request.

*Exceptions

The President of the University, a University Vice President, the Registrar, the Director of Human Resources, the Director of Institutional Research, the Office of Public Safety, the Chief Information Officer, or a designee of any of those aforementioned parties may send mass emails or time-critical messages to faculty members, staff members, and/or students at their discretion.

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III. Types of Mass Email Lists

Official Lists

Official Lists (also called Position or Role-Specific Lists) are populated by nature of members’ positions, roles, or responsibilities at the institution. Membership is generally mandatory and members are typically not allowed to opt-out.

Examples of these lists include, but are not limited to:                                           

  • Course-related or major-related lists of students (e.g., chemistrymajors@depauw.edu)
  • University or departmental lists of faculty members, staff members, or students (e.g., faculty@depauw.edu or staff@depauw.edu or informationservices@depauw.edu)
  • Lists of living unit residents (e.g., hogatehall@depauw.edu)
  • System-Specific Email Lists (e.g., Moodle course lists)
  • An ad-hoc list created from an e-Services report (e.g., list of all Juniors and Seniors)

Opt-In Lists

Opt-in Lists are lists established and managed by a University department, program, or similar University representative to facilitate communication and/or coordination around a particular topic or theme. Membership is generally voluntary and members must be provided the choice to opt-out.

Examples of these lists include, but are not limited to:

  • Community-related message boards for exchanging topical information between members (e.g., personals@depauw.edu or macusers@depauw.edu)
  • Community-related distribution lists providing information about campus events or activities (e.g., DePauwWeekly@depauw.edu or Arts_at_DePauw@depauw.edu)

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IV. Methods for Sending Mass Email Messages

Google Groups

A Google Group is a mailing list utility available in DePauw’s Google Apps for Education domain. Google Groups can be established and managed by a DePauw Google Apps account holder to regularly distribute official information and/or facilitate communication and/or coordination around a particular topic or theme. Members may be pre-subscribed by virtue of their position, role, or responsibilities at the institution, added by voluntary self-subscription, or pre-subscribed with the option to opt-out. Who can send email to a particular Google Group is controlled by system permissions established per the defined Group purpose and approval provided at time of creation.

e-Services Email Lists

e-Services can be used to generate lists of email addresses for very specific groups of persons. This is typically accomplished through reports developed by Information Services in conjunction with list requesters. It is important to note that e-Services can be used to generate email lists, but messages cannot be sent from within e-Services.

Example: An e-Services report might identify Juniors and Seniors who have not yet completed the University’s ‘Q’ requirement, along with their email addresses. The Registrar, or perhaps faculty members given Registrar approval, might want to contact these students at the beginning of the fall semester. 

System-Specific Email Lists

Some University IT systems provide a built-in utility for users to send mass emails to other users in the system. Typically, membership and mass email list capabilities within these systems are defined by nature of members’ positions, roles, or responsibilities at the institution and is intended for a functionally specific purpose.

Example: In Moodle, instructors and students enrolled in a Moodle ‘course’ can email other members in that course. This functionality is intended to facilitate course-related communication between the course instructor and students.

Ad-hoc Broadcast Messages                                 

Email lists for sending ad-hoc or one-time broadcast messages to targeted students, faculty members, and/or staff members can be created upon request under the approval protocol defined in this document. In most cases, a message of this type will be emailed on behalf of the requesting party by a designated representative of the approving office or official, not by the requester.

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V. Recommended Guidelines for Mass Electronic Mailing

A mass electronic emailing should include two pieces of information with each distribution:

  1. A subject line that clearly and accurately identifies the content or purpose of the message, which can then be used by recipients to organize or filter their email messages
  2. A clear indication that the sender is an on-campus individual or group, to whom a reply can be easily generated, typically in the form of an email ‘signature block’

Recipients of a mass email message should be masked so that individual recipient names or addresses are not identifiable to other recipients. (e.g., place recipient addresses in the “BCC:” field instead of in the “To:” field.)

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VI. To Report a Mass Email Violation

To report a mass email that has violated these policies, contact the relevant governing office or the Chief Information Officer.

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Original publication date: 01-Nov-2012