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3.8.8 Electronic Mass Communications Policy

Policy:
Members of the University community are encouraged to use email, the web and other forms of electronic mass communication, within established guidelines, to facilitate the efficient and effective presentation and delivery of information.

Note that the line above is University Institutional Policy and that what follows is University Operational Policy. Both are approved by the Information Strategy and Policy Committee (ISPC).

1. Definitions

University Community – all members, former members and potential members of the University. These groups include, but are not limited to, faculty, staff, students, emeriti faculty, alumni, employees, perspective students, and donors.

  • All - ‘All’ in what follows means all or a significant portion or segment of the indicated group. It is not confined simply to mean ‘each and every one.’
  • Mass  Communications – The sending of communiqués, especially email, to All members of a group or multiple groups.
    Open Mass Communication – Mass Communications within one’s administrative domain. This includes faculty sending communications to their classes, administrators sending to their employees, schools sending to their faculty, staff or students. Open Mass Communication does not require authorization beyond that imposed by the policy and procedure within individual units, if any.
  • Restricted Mass Communication – Mass Communication across community or administrative domains. For example, all students at Pacific (not all students at Law) or all faculty at Stockton (not all faculty in the College), all staff of Pacific (not just all staff at Dental).
  • Institutional Spam – Unauthorized and/or inappropriate Mass Communications.

2. Background

The University community is encouraged, where appropriate, to move away from, or supplement, paper based communications and utilize electronic communications. There is a rising need t o be more efficient and effective with internal communications and a rising need to deliver more and higher quality information to virtually everyone encountering the University.

The University also recognizes the sensitivity of our community to receiving unsolicited email, institutional spam. However, the University, from time to time, has academic, business and emergency needs that require Mass Communications.

Finally, the evolving security and legal landscape requires Pacific to communicate with care.

3. Authorization for Restricted Mass Communications

See definition above for Restricted Mass Communications. Note especially that Open Mass Communication as defined above does not require authorization beyond that imposed, if any, by the individual units.

Communications to All Campuses
Entire Community – Executive Assistant to the President or Vice President working on behalf of the University President

Communications to the Stockton Campus and selected mailings affecting all three campuses:

  • All Students - Any Cabinet member
  • All Staff/Employees – Director of Human Resources or the VP for Business & Finance
  • All Faculty – Provost
  • All Alumni – Director of Alumni Relations
  • All Prospective Students – Associate Provost, Office of Enrollment

Within the Guidelines below, the Office of Marketing and University relations operates under a general authorization to:

  1. perform mass electronic communications as it deems necessary
  2. to act as a proxy for any group desiring such communications

4. Restricted Mass Communications Guidelines

  1. No routine restricted mass communications. Communications broadcast to these groups should not be routine. Information should be critical and time sensitive. Information that is not critical, not time sensitive, or not germane to the University’s mission, should be sent to Marketing and University Relations for inclusion in E-news, entry on the web or other voluntary subscription. E-news is received by voluntary subscription. It is presumed that within an organizational unit, sending of inter-group messages not relative to the mission of the University will be regulated by the corresponding management.
  2. No email spamming the community. Communications broadcast to all these groups must specifically apply to all or the vast majority of recipients as a “need to know.” For example, a United Way Campaign. Mass email communication to generate interest in niche issues or limited interest issues, like a trip to another country by a club, is specifically prohibited. Information that is not universally required should be sent to Marketing and University Relations for inclusion in E-news, entry on the web or other similar communication vehicles.

5. Messages from Pacific to the External Community

  1. Messages must conform to the CAN-SPAM Act.

    It is generally a poor practice to send unsolicited email to anyone inside or outside the community, but especially if there is not an existing relationship with Pacific. However, whether the mail is solicited or un-solicited, pre-existing relationship or not, if it is sent to the external community, it must comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.

    [Source Wikipedia] The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (15 U.S.C. 7701, et seq., Public Law No. 108-187, was S.877 of the 108th Congress), signed into law by President Bush on December 16, 2003, establishes the United States’ first national standards for the sending of commercial email and requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce its provisions. The acronym CAN-SPAM derives from the bill’s full name: Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003.

    CAN-SPAM defines spam as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service (including content on an Internet website operated for a commercial purpose).” It exempts “ transactional or relationship messages.” [...]

    The bill permits email marketers to send unsolicited commercial email as long as it contains all of the following:

    1. An opt-out mechanism
    2. A valid subject line and header (routing) information
    3. The legitimate physical address of the mailer; and
    4. A label if the content is adult
    5. The content is exempt if it consists of
      1. a. Religious messages
      2. b. Content that broadly complies with the marketing mechanisms specified in the law [...]
  2. Messages from Pacific to the external Community should, if possible and appropriate, be sent by a third party. Even if such mass mailings conform to the CAN-SPAM Act, the University risks being black-listed if recipients see what Pacific sends as SPAM. If a third party is used for a mass communication, a sample copy should be sent to an on-campus address for quality control and data retention purposes.
  3. Distribution lists should be used. Mass email lists should not be built on the email system itself, but rather using an email exploder service. A distribution list service is currently available from the Office of Information (OIT) for bulk email using moderated/unmoderated and open/closed discussion lists. However, this section is not to be construed as suggesting the construction of distribution lists exempts one from this policy. It does not.
  4. Anti-phishing steps must be taken. Mass internal or external communications that lead the recipient to a web site that may ask for personally identifiable information must not provide a live URL linked to the sight. Such communications should simply advise the recipient to visit the site. For example, “Your housing bill is ready. Please visit your account through insidePacific.”

6. Violation of this Policy

If you believe an email you received from a Pacific.edu address may violate this policy, please send it to the IT Security Officer, ITsecurity@pacific.edu.

Continued violation of this University Policy may result in suspension of email privileges, pending a full investigation.