Guideline 2-3: Electronic Communication (E-com)

Guidelines and Procedures

1.0 Overview

There is an increasing reliance on electronic communication among students, faculty and administration at San Jacinto College (SJC). This is motivated by the convenience, speed, cost-effectiveness, and environmental advantages of using electronic communication (E-Com) rather than printed communication. Because of this increasing reliance, SJC requires a policy that outlines its acceptable use of SJC E-Com.

2.0 Purpose

The purpose of these guidelines is to establish the rules that govern SJC E-Com usage and protect students, employees and the college from inappropriate use.

3.0 Scope

SJC E-Com is regarded by SJC as an official means for communication with students, faculty, staff, business and the general public. SJC E-Com is all forms of college supported electronic communication including but not limited to the following:

  • Email
  • Instant Messaging (IM)
  • Voicemail
  • SMS (Text Messaging)
  • Blogs

4.0 Guidelines

The list outlined below is by no means exhaustive, but attempts to provide a framework for acceptable usage of SJC E-Com.

4.1 General Usage

4.1.1 Disclaimers

Postings by employees from SJC E-Com accounts to newsgroups or forums should contain a disclaimer stating that the opinions expressed are strictly their own and not necessarily those of SJC, unless posting is in the course of business duties.

4.1.2 Assignment of accounts

Technology Services (TS) will assign all employees and students official SJC E-com accounts. It is to this official account that the college will send electronic communications.

4.1.3 Distribution lists

Technology Services (TS) will create a distribution list alias by request. The addition and deletion of account names to the distribution list is the responsibility of the requestor.

4.1.4 Malicious content

Employees and students must use extreme caution when opening SJC E-Com attachments or links (embedded or included within Instant Messages and Blog posts) received from unknown parties, which may contain viruses, e-mail/logic bombs, Trojan horse code, or any other
malicious content.

4.1.5 Expectations regarding timeliness of e-mail use

Employees and students are expected to check their official e-mail address on a frequent and consistent basis in order to stay current with College communications. The campus recommends checking e-mail once a week at a minimum (unless specifically detailed by supervisor); in recognition that certain communications may be time-critical.

4.1.6 Educational uses of e-mail

Faculty may determine how e-mail will be used in their classes. It is highly recommended that
if faculty has e-mail requirements and expectations they specify these requirements in their
course syllabus. Faculty may expect that students' official e-mail addresses are being accessed
and faculty may use e-mail for their courses accordingly.

4.1.7 Confidentiality

Confidentiality regarding student records is protected under the Family Educational Rights
and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). All use of e-mail, including use for sensitive or
confidential information, will be consistent with FERPA. It is not appropriate to transmit
sensitive information via SJC E-Com services unless such purposes are matched by an
appropriate level of security

4.1.8 Legal Notification

SJC E-Com shall not be the sole method for notification of any legal action.

4.2 Prohibited Use

4.2.1 Redirecting e-mail

To protect confidentiality and to better secure communication with employees and students, automated redirection of email to outside accounts will not be permitted.

4.2.2 Disruptive and offensive messages

The SJC E-Com system shall not be used for the creation or distribution of any disruptive or offensive messages. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Messages that harass or threaten harm. This also includes but is not limited to offensive comments regarding work performance, race, gender, hair color, disabilities, age, sexual orientation, pornography, religious beliefs and practice, political beliefs, or national origin.
  • Chain letters or jokes including but not limited to "Ponzi" or other "pyramid" schemes of any type are prohibited.

4.2.3 Peer to peer file sharing

Peer to peer file sharing of any nature within SJC E-Com systems. Peer-to-peer networks have become notorious for fostering piracy of copyrighted materials. Employees and students who receive any communication via the SJC E-Com system, with illegal content from any SJC student or employee should report the matter to TechSupport immediately.

4.2.4 Conducting personal business

Employee and student email accounts should not be used when conducting personal business. If an employee or student makes a personal purchase over the internet, their SJC email account should not be entered into any form in conjunction with that purchase. Many companies sell lists of these addresses to marketing firms that will flood the email boxes with spam. SJC employs many resources to prevent spam at the college, using college accounts for personal business is contrary to these efforts.

4.2.5 Mass mailing

Mass mailings to external email accounts from SJC are prohibited unless approved by Marketing and Communications.

4.3 Monitoring

SJC employees and students shall have no expectation of privacy in anything they store, send or receive on the SJC E-Com system. SJC may monitor content without prior notice. SJC is not obliged to monitor SJC E-Com system content.

5.0 Enforcement

Any employee found to have violated these guidelines may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. Any student found to have violated these guidelines may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion.

6.0 Definitions

Email

The electronic transmission of information through a mail protocol such as SMTP or IMAP. Typical email clients include Eudora and Microsoft Outlook.

Forwarded email

Email resent from an internal network to an outside point.

Chain email or letter

Email sent to successive people. Typically the body of the note has direction to send out multiple copies of the note and promises good luck or money if the direction is followed.

Sensitive information

Information is considered sensitive if it can be damaging to SJC or its faculty, staff, and student population.

Virus warning

Email containing warnings about virus or malware. The overwhelming majority of these emails turn out to be a hoax and contain bogus information usually intent only on frightening or misleading users.

Unauthorized Disclosure

The intentional or unintentional revealing of restricted information to people, both inside and outside SJC, who do not have a need to know that information.

SJC E-Com

SJC E-Com is defined as any SJC Email, Instant Messaging (IM), Web Logs (Blogs) account used to communicate internally/externally.

Cellular Communication

1.0 Crisis Response Team (CRT) Communication

Certain key positions have been identified by the Board of Trustees as essential to the business continuity of the college. Effective communications during an emergency is essential to crisis management. To that end, the following positions will be provided a phone with PDA capabilities owned and purchased by the college. The following key positions and/or members of the college Crisis Response Team are required to have the college issued phones in the procession and available for use:

Chancellor
Vice Chancellors
CIO
Presidents
Vice Presidents
Safety Director
Police Captains
Director of Maintenance
Assistant Director of Maintenance
Director of construction
Director of Special Projects

2. Receipt of e-mail or other electronic communications of employee not on the CRT

The college provides devices paid from college funds to those who are considered crisis management personnel. The college will support pushing e-mail to individuals not on the Crisis Response Team, if the employee has a compatible phone device and the device is using Windows mobile 5 or later and preferably on the Verizon network.

3. Cell Phone Stipends

Certain positions in the college may be approved by the Board of Trustees to receive a monthly cell phone stipend. An employee approved to receive a phone stipend may purchase a cellular device and select a communication plan from the vendor or company of their choice. An employee receiving a cell phone stipend is expected to be available by cell phone and make the number known to those with a business reason to know. An employee receiving a cell phone stipend may not submit reimbursement claims for cell phone usage for business purposes; nor will the college be responsible for replacement of equipment.