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9.7.1 Procedures for Use of Mass Electronic Mail

I. Introduction

These procedures establish the appropriate use of Illinois State University's information technology resources, computers, networking systems, information, and data, collectively defined here as ISU Information Technology Resources and Systems to send permitted mass electronic mail (email) as defined by 9.7 Policy on Campus Mass Electronic Communications.

II. Oversight Responsbilities 

The Mass Email Policy Guidance Council provides oversight for the appropriate use of ISU Information Technology Resources and Systems to send permitted mass electronic mail.  The Mass Email Policy Guidance Council is responsible for periodically reviewing and updating the policy and procedures on mass electronic mail.  This Council will be comprised of designees representing the president, vice presidents, CIO, and Senate Chair or a member elected from the Senate.  A Chair will be selected by the CIO from the individuals appointed to the Council. 

III. Mass Electronic Mail Audiences 

This procedure establishes the following primary audiences as recipients of mass electronic mail and notes the approving agent. 

All-campus - This audience is reserved for communications with a message that is of sufficient importance that all members of the University community need to be informed.  Any mass emails sent to the all-campus audience must be approved by the Director of Media Relations (or designee) in the Office of the President, or any Vice President (or designee). 

Faculty of Academic Rank - Any mass emails sent to all tenured and tenure-track faculty must be approved by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost (or designee). 

Current Instructors - Any mass emails sent to all current instructors must be approved by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost (or designee). 

Staff - Any mass emails sent to all non-student and non-faculty staff at ISU must be approved by the Vice President for Finance and Planning (or designee). 

Students - Any mass emails sent to all students must be approved by the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee).  Included in this audience would be mass emails to parents and family members of students for the purpose of communicating important information when deemed appropriate by the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee). 

IV. Campus Emergency Notifications 

Campus Emergency Notifications are mass emails sent regarding an unforeseen situation that threatens students, TT/NTT faculty, staff and campus visitors or causes or has the potential to cause physical or environmental damage. Campus emergencies include, but are not limited to, the following: public health emergencies, tornadoes, fires, explosions, floods, civil disturbances, chemical spills, radiological incidents, toxic gas releases, cybersecurity threats, and workplace violence. Campus Emergency notifications are managed by the Campus Communications Group, which is part of the ISU Emergency Management Plan Emergency Response and Evacuation Procedures (Policy 5.1.15 ), and not covered by Policy 9.7 nor need adhere to Procedures 9.7.1. It is important to note that there are other means of communications during a campus emergency that can be utilized in conjunction with mass email (texts, websites, etc.).

V. Smaller Campus Community Audiences 

The Policy on Mass Electronic Mail is not intended to interfere with email used to support instruction nor with intra-divisional or intra-departmental communication. When the recipients are all part of a single unit, the appropriate vice president, dean, chair, or director can authorize creation of a Contact List or Group and can establish separate guidelines for using that list within the particular division, college, school/department, or University support unit. Unit leaders may create their own email address Contact List that includes the members of their division, college, school/department, or University support unit that they are authorized to communicate with via email. Alternatively, unit leaders may request a Contact List for their division, college, school/department, or University support unit from the Office of Planning, Research, and Policy Analysis (PRPA). 

Unit leaders may also send an email message to smaller campus community audiences outside their division, college, school/department, or University support unit, for communications related to services provided by their unit, for human subjects research, or for service improvement research. An email list may be requested from PRPA. Requirements for email sent to potential respondents for human subjects or service improvement research are outlined in section VII. 

VI. Communication between Instructor and Students 

The Mass Electronic Mail Policy is not meant to interfere with the ability of an instructor to establish communication with students in a class. Instructors may utilize procedures for students in their classes for the current semester only.  Channels such as ReggieNet and other tools supported by the University may also be considered as alternatives.

VII. Sending Surveys to On-Campus Recipients

The University recognizes the importance of research as part of its academic mission. These Procedures support the need for academic researchers, as well as support service staff, to use mass electronic communications as a research tool. Procedures are defined for deploying these tools for on-campus and off-campus research in appropriate ways to ensure that such communication is viewed by the recipient as an academic activity, and not as unsolicited and unwanted email.

To facilitate on-campus surveys for institutional and instructional research needs, all members of the campus community will be pre-subscribed to a campus-wide pool from which survey samples may be drawn. When an individual activates their campus ULID they will automatically be added to the central survey pool.  The following restrictions apply to the use of the campus-wide survey pool:

  • All on-campus human subjects research surveys must be approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or designee an an IRB Protocol Acceptance Letter must be attached to the Mass Email Request Form. All service improvement surveys must be approved by the relevant vice president, dean,  chair, or director (IRB Protocol Acceptance Letter is not required for service improvement surveys).
  • Survey instruments should not be embedded or attached to the mass emails (e.g. used web-based surveys). Instead, the mass email should include a link to the survey's web location. The University provides supported software for the purpose of creating surveys. 
  • The principal investigator must be clearly identified in all communications. 
  • The Subject line of the mass-email must use the prefix "RESEARCH:" for IRB approved research projects and "SURVEY:" for all other campus survey activities.  

Detailed instructions on how to send a mass electronic mail messages, including research surveys, are available at https://ithelp.illinoisstate.edu/knowledge/4033-how-to-send-a-mass-email/ , including approvals and time frames involved.

XI. Complaints

Anyone who receives a mass electronic mail from a member of the Illinois State University community that appears to be in violation of the Policy on Mass Electronic Mail may take the following steps:

  • First, the recipient should contact the original sender of the message and/or the associated administrator to seek resolution.
  • Second, if, after a proper amount of time, a resolution has not been reached, the recipient of the email may file a complaint by sending an email to the Mass Email Policy Guidance Council ( MassEmailGuidance@ilstu.edu).

The Mass Email Policy Guidance Council will then consult with the appropriate administrator(s) and a decision as to whether to treat the matter as an Appropriate Use Policy violation will be made. Violations of appropriate use will be handled following the process defined in the University Policy on Appropriate Use (Policy 9.2). To report improper mass electronic mail received from external Internet Service Providers (ISPs), it is recommended that complaints be filed with that ISP according to their procedures (usually to an "abuse" or "postmaster" email address).

Last Review: December 7, 2020

2021-07-22T10:32:18.146-07:00 2021