Mass E-Mail Policy

Overview

University of St. Thomas Mass E-Mail Policy

Approved by President’s Staff February 11, 2013

Overview

The policy that follows defines the standards for using the University’s e-mail systems for mass communications.  It has become necessary to more closely manage the amount and types of mass e-mail being disseminated from University systems.  UST has seen a sharp increase in the volume of mass e-mailings designed to contact constituents and reduce traditional mailing costs.  Some of these mass e-mailings have caused our stthomas.edu domain to be blacklisted by e-mail providers.  At the same time we have been hit with an increasing number of phishing attacks which target the use of compromised UST e-mail addresses for sending out e-mail spam.  These events also cause our domain to be blacklisted.  When UST is blacklisted legitimate UST e-mail is prevented from being delivered off-campus, it damages our brand and reputation, and it ties up valuable staff time to resolve the issue.  This mass e-mail policy is intended to steer campus community members to make the best use of our e-mail resources and keep us in compliance with regulations such as the CAN-SPAM Act without unduly limiting the effectiveness of those on campus who need to use mass e-mail to meet their marketing and communication objectives.

Purpose

This policy is guided by the following objectives:

  1. Compliance with applicable laws and regulations
  2. Maintenance of consistent university brand identity within email communications
  3. Effective stewardship of University resources

Policy Owner

The Information Resources and Technologies (IRT) division is responsible for the maintenance of this policy, and for responding to questions regarding this policy.  The Vice President for IRT (VPIRT) or delegate is the responsible officer.

Scope

Mass e-mail at the University of St. Thomas is defined as e-mail originating from a University e-mail address or mailbox targeted to 100 addresses overall, including more than one distribution group of 100 or more people.  This includes:

  • either single messages with 100 or more addresses or mail merge-type messages disseminated to 100 or more people.
  • e-mail disseminated within the University systems and/or to external recipients. 
  • e-mail originating from UST systems or externally hosted systems using UST e-mail addresses.

This policy applies to all University faculty, staff, students, alumni and any other individual or groups who use UST e-mail systems or addresses. 

Mass E-mail Terms of Use

Any user found to have violated the terms of use may be subject to loss of privileges or services and other disciplinary action by the University.

  1. All mass e-mail messages will comply with the CAN-SPAM Act, FERPA, and the University Responsible Use policy (see links below).  This includes internal mass e-mail messages, and those resulting from UST’s allowance of e-mail forwarding to external e-mail addresses.
  2. All other mass communications assembled electronically must use the University’s official enterprise mass e-mail system or an enterprise e-mail system distribution group.
  3. Additional approval may be required for large mass e-mailings, or mailings to other targeted groups.  In such cases, approval must be obtained from the assigned owner of the group(s).
  4. Colleges, schools, individuals, groups, or organizations that would like to send mass emails to constituents must coordinate with the Information, Resources and Technologies division to create a marketing list through a University-approved system or use an approved web site to communicate/broadcast information.
  5. University Relations may require an approved communication plan highlighting electronic communications and their timing to be submitted yearly for review.
  6. IRT will implement and enable technologies as appropriate to facilitate this policy and effectively manage University resources.   For example, IRT may limit the number of messages disseminated per personal mailbox, throttle message delivery for large distributions, and spam-check outgoing messages.
  7. Accounts and network access may be administratively suspended, with or without notice, when continued use of the University’s resources may interfere with the work of others, place the University or others at risk, or violate University policy.
  8. IRT will maintain the health of the mass email servers and manage account provisioning, permissions, and training on basic uses of the system.  Support for advanced marketing campaigns will require a dedicated marketing professional for University Relations or a specific college or school for development and execution.
  9. Use of University and personal distribution groups are expected to comply with this policy.
  10. Mail merges are expected to comply with this policy.
  11. E-mailing surveys are expected to comply with this policy.
  12. Exceptions to this policy will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
  13. If you have any questions related to the use of the e-mail for mass communications, please contact the Tech Desk at IRTHelp@stthomas.edu.

Guidelines for Mail E-Mail Communications

  • Mass e-mail communications are expected to be targeted as much as possible to constituents who need to receive or who are most likely to respond to the intended message. 
  • Owners of officially maintained UST distribution groups may designate faculty and staff to send internal mass e-mail messages to specific segments of staff, faculty, students, or alumni.  
  • To ensure the most accurate constituent data, mass e-mail messages are expected to use Banner or ODS data sources whenever possible.
  • Mass e-mail communications are expected to be screened with available tools to help ensure the message will pass standard anti-spam filters.

Exception

  • In the event of a campus emergency, the University Action and Response Team (UART) process allows for campus-wide communications, including mass e-mailing as deemed necessary.

References