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9.7 Policy on Campus Mass Electronic Communications

I. Purpose

The University recognizes the need to send mass electronic communication of both a critical and a general nature to large groups of individuals. The University further understands the need to protect the privacy of these individuals and to ensure that the mass electronic communication is essential and relevant to its academic mission. The University also recognizes that when sending mass electronic communication to off-campus groups the sender must be sensitive to the dual role the University plays in the Internet community as both an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and an educational institution. Given this potential dual role, special precautions need to be taken to ensure compliance with the law and best practices in the Internet community.

II. Scope

This policy on the use of mass electronic communication applies to anyone who uses Illinois State University's information technology resources, computers, networking systems, information, and data collectively defined here as ISU Information Technology Resources and Systems.


Mass Electronic Communication - Any electronic communication of the same message, in multiple or single distribution, to 100 or more individuals. This includes communication of differing wording that conveys the same message as well as communication sent on behalf of the University through Internet Service Providers other than Illinois State University. Mass electronic communication includes, but is not limited to, messages distributed electronically using voice, video, text or other graphic or texting technology.

Communication Channel - A pre-defined university pathway for the delivery of mass electronic communication to a specific group of individuals. 

Spam - An unsolicited electronic communication, outside of the scope of the University mission, which is sent to a group of individuals, on-campus or off-campus, without their permission.

Listserv(s) – A software program that automatically distributes email to individuals subscribed to the email list.

My.IllinoisState.edu - Campus web-based access to University resources where information presented is personalized to individuals based on their role(s) within the University community.

ULID - A University Logon Identification which is the electronic user name assigned to members of the University community when their personal campus Internet services are activated.

Opt-in and Opt-out - Subscribers to mass email listservs may elect to opt-in to a list (subscribe) or opt-out of a list (unsubscribe). A no-opt-out list provides no option for an individual to unsubscribe them self from the list membership.

Subscribed membership - The following types of subscribed membership for mass electronic communications are defined:

  • Subscribed-with-permission. A list made up of individuals who have explicitly given prior permission to be added to the membership of a list.
  • Subscribed-implied-permission. A list made up of individuals who have indirectly given permission to be contacted electronically.
  • Subscribed-without-permission. A list made up of individuals who have not given their permission to be added to the membership of the list.

On-campus Communication - Mass electronic communication that is sent by any member of the University community (faculty, staff, students, etc) to another member of the University community. In most instances, while not exclusively, this will be via desktops or servers within the ilstu.edu or IllinoisState.edu domain, or any of its sub-domains.

Off-campus Communications - Mass electronic communication that is sent by a member of the University community to any non-University individual.

Administrator - A person officially recognized by the University as having responsibility over a campus unit and its faculty and staff. In the case of an academic unit, the administrator’s responsibility would extend to students who are officially participating in academic programs under the responsibility of that administrator. An administrator may appoint a designee for a mass electronic communication but retains responsibility for the communication.

Special Communications Channel Approval - An approval process whereby a department or area may request special access to one or more of the University’s mass electronic communication channels for a special communication over an extended period of time.  

Campus Emergency - An unforeseen situation that threatens university employees, students and campus visitors or causes physical or environmental damage. Campus emergencies include, but are not limited to, the following: Tornados, Fires, Explosions, Floods, Civil Disturbances, Chemical Spills, Radiological Incidents, Toxic Gas Releases and Workplace Violence.

III. Policy

The University prohibits anyone from using ISU Information Technology Resources and Systems to send Spam on-campus or off-campus. The University permits mass electronic communication that is relevant to the University’s academic mission, and follows all Mass Electronic Communications Policies and Procedures. To facilitate permitted mass electronic communication, the University has developed procedures for specific communication channels along with directives for their appropriate use and management.

Permitted mass electronic communication requires prior permission from the individual recipients and the communication must offer an option to be removed from the list at any time. Exceptions to the prior permission requirement are limited to campus administrators and instructors as follows:

  • The President and Vice Presidents maintain authority over special mass-communication channels designed to contact large sectors of the campus community without prior permission.
  • Persons in an official administrative position have the right to contact faculty, staff or students under their scope of administrative responsibility without prior permission.
  • Instructors retain the right to use mass electronic communication to contact students registered for their classes during the current semester without prior permission.
  • In the event of a Campus Emergency the University retains the right to notify the campus community without prior permission using any means necessary.

Exceptions to the provisions of the Mass Electronic Communication Policy and any subsequent Mass Electronic Communication Procedures shall be in compliance with and not supersede the University Policy on Appropriate Use.

IV. Compliance

Any user of ISU Information Technology Resources and Systems who violates University policies, procedures or applicable state and federal laws may be subject to the appropriate disciplinary actions up to and including termination.

V. Approval & Review

The President of Illinois State University has approved the Policy on Campus Mass Electronic Communication. This policy will be periodically reviewed by the Information Technology Policy and Planning Council and changes or additions to this policy will be recommended by this Council to the President of the University. Information technology resources and systems are changing rapidly both in terms of technology and application, and the University reserves the right to amend this policy at any time. The version posted on the web at www.policy.ilstu.edu/ is the governing policy.

Last Review: December 2010

2018-12-07T11:07:32.65-06:00 2018