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This document sets forth Smith College's policy with regard to access to and disclosure of electronic mail messages sent or received by Smith students, faculty, and staff with the use of the college's electronic mail system. It also sets forth policies on the proper use of the electronic mail systems.

Smith College intends to honor these policies but must reserve the right to change them at any time.

Account name changes

Upon request, ITS will change the full name and user name associated with the Information Technology Services issued user account of any student who has officially changed his or her name with the Registrar's office. The same policy holds for staff and faculty members who have officially registered a name change with the Human Resources department.

Permissible uses of electronic mail system

Smith provides electronic mail to students, faculty, and staff, at the college's expense, for their use on college business and for academic purposes. Individual computer accounts for access to electronic mail are available to all students, faculty, and staff. Sharing an account or password with anyone is not permitted.

Use of electronic mail for non-college-related commercial activities or for solicitations or canvassing is not permitted. (For exceptions, see the college-wide solicitation policy in the Staff Handbook.) Incidental and occasional personal use of electronic mail is permitted, but such messages will be treated no differently from other messages with respect to privacy.

It is a violation of college policy for any student or employee, including supervisors and Information Technology Services' staff, to use the electronic mail and computer systems for obtaining access to the files and communications of others, with no substantial work-related purpose.

It is a violation of college policy to use Smith electronic mail services to send chain letters, to send messages containing sexually explicit language, to send copies of documents in violation of copyright laws, or to infringe on the rights of or to harass other users in any way.

The college's electronic mail services provide a means via the Internet by which members of the public may communicate with members of the Smith community. Messages sent between the college and members of the public must conform with the college's electronic mail policy and will be treated no differently from other messages with respect to privacy. Always use care in addressing messages, especially when using distribution lists, to make sure you do not inadvertently send a message meant for someone else.

Monitoring for security violations

During the routine course of business, Information Technology Services' staff monitor the college's computer systems, including the electronic mail services. If system administrators find anomalies indicating the possibility of illegal activity or violations of college policy or security, they will investigate further and report their findings to the CIO.

The college may inspect the contents of electronic mail messages in the course of an investigation triggered by indications of impropriety.

Right to access and disclose information

Smith recognizes that members of the college community have some reasonable expectations of privacy with regard to the electronic mail messages they send or receive. The college reserves the right to access and disclose the contents of electronic mail messages, but will do so only when it has a legitimate work-related need to do so. The college also reserves the right to disclose any electronic mail message to law enforcement officials.

The Vice President for Information Technology will review any request for access to the contents of electronic mail without the consent of a sender or recipient. Such requests must be approved in advance and any access undertaken without such approval is a breach of college policy.


Violations of the college's electronic mail policy can result in removal of your account from the system and/or more serious sanctions. Some offenses are punishable under federal law. For more information on related college policies and sanctions, Smith students should refer to the Student Handbook, Smith faculty should refer to the Faculty Code, and Smith staff should refer to the Staff Handbook.



Copyright © 2014 Smith College  |  Last updated March 7, 2016

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