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Electronic Mail Policy

Interim Policy

Approved: VP for Information Technology Date Established: 4/2015

Responsible Office: Information Technology Services

Date Last Revised: 5/2015
Responsible Executive: Information Security Director, VP for Information Technology

Electronic mail services provided by the college engender legal, regulatory and institutional limitations on its permitted use, content, and handling by all members of the institution. This policy provides the framework for the permitted and proper use of email by the institution and its members.

This policy affects all members of the Smith College community who use the electronic mail and messaging services provided by the college.  

Electronic mail (email) is an established means of communication and information conveyance for a wide variety of institutional, professional and personal needs. Smith provides email services to its community members in support of the academic mission and administrative needs of the college. This policy sets limits and expectations on the permitted use and handling of email accounts, message content, and use of services to meet the compliance requirements of legal and regulatory mandates, and the general needs and expectations that the institution sets for itself.

Email Accounts:

Prohibited Use: the use of email services are expressly prohibited:

Permitted Use: some use of email services are permitted, but have certain restrictions or limitations on their use, such as:

Email Privacy: email communications using Smith College’s email services may contain confidential or personal information, with certain expectations regarding the privacy and disclosure of such communications. Electronic communications, including email, are subject to the following limitations regarding privacy and access:

Email as an “official record” of the college: Email is considered an official resource for the communications of the college, and may be subject to other institutional or legal regulations and compliance requirements pertaining to the official records of the institution. This includes but is not limited to:

Violations of college policies are adjudicated according to procedures outlined in the Student Handbook and the Staff Handbook, with disciplinary consequences imposed by the adjudicating authority up to and including dismissal. Some offenses are punishable under state and federal laws.


Standards for email attachments:
Attachments to email messages are expected to comply with the following standards and best practices recommendations:

Procedures for Bulk email: The following requirements govern the use of email services for the sending of “bulk email” messages:

Procedures for departments:
Departments are expected to develop internal procedures relevant to their business processes that support compliance with this policy. Review and approval of internal procedures by the policy Responsible Executive is recommended if questions of compliance or best practices arise.

Standards and Best Practices for email composition:
In order to promote consistency and professionalism in official communications, and to better ensure that users both read and trust the messages sent by representatives of the college, adherence to the following guidelines is suggested:


Web links in message content: care should be used when including clickable content within email messages, as this is how most phising email messages attempt to compromise a recipient’s identity or personal information. Whenever reasonable, ensure that URLs are explicit in the message text; try not to hide link addresses behind alternate clickable text.

Best Practices for email composition :

These definitions apply to terms as they are used in this policy.

Bulk email:

Email message content that is sent to a list of more than 25 recipients that is derived or maintained by an individual or group, and which the recipients did not explicitly agree to receive.

Broadcast email:

Email messages sent to an institutionally maintained list (“system list”) of Smith College users, such as all faculty or a class roster of students, usually from an account with explicit permission to send to that list; recipients cannot opt out of system lists.

Distribution list email:

Email messages sent to a list of users who have explicitly agreed to receive messages pertaining to the distribution list’s subject or purpose.

Protected information:

Generally, Smith institutional information that has specific legal or regulatory compliance restrictions or protections, such as Social Security Numbers; see the Comprehensive Information Security Program for more detailed information.


Related Policies :

Other Resources :

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