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URI Official Email Communication Guidelines

Background
The University of Rhode Island has established email as one of the official means of communication with faculty, staff, and students on important academic and administrative matters. This is motivated by the convenience, speed, cost-effectiveness, and environmental advantages of incorporating electronic messaging into traditional communication methods.

Official bulk email is intended for official University communications only. It is not to be confused with other electronic mailing lists that are available to everyone on campus or any email lists set up by individual offices and departments.

To support this use of email, the University provides an official University email account to all faculty, staff, and students to which official University communications are sent.

Purpose of Guidelines
The purpose of these guidelines is to establish the following:

Email is one of the valid mechanisms for official University communication with faculty, staff, and students.

Faculty and staff are required to activate an email account on the University’s mail.uri.edu server, which is considered to be their official University email address.

An incoming student’s mailbox is activated on my.uri.edu when the University receives the student’s enrollment deposit.

However, please note:
URI members are free to use any email address they choose for all other email activities at the University. Their official URI email address is required only to receive official University communications that need to reach the entire campus or large subgroups with vital information.

Examples are communications from the Office of the President, the Provost, Enrollment Services, and Network Security.

The University has the right to expect faculty, staff, and students to process email at their University address in a timely fashion and to manage their email account to ensure that disk space allotments are not exceeded.

Also note:
In situations where staff members do not have access to a computer, it is the responsibility of their supervisor to notify them of official URI email content in a timely manner.

Use of email on University-owned servers is subject to University policies including, but not be limited to, the ITS Computing and Network Use Policies and the Legal Software Use Policy.

Scope
The guidelines apply to faculty, staff, and students of the University of Rhode Island. All email users are responsible for reading, understanding, and complying with these guidelines.

Guidelines
The University of Rhode Island has established email as one of the means of sending official information to faculty, staff, and students.

Official University email communications are intended to meet the needs of the entire campus community or a large subgroup, and are to be used only for the following purposes:

  • To notify employees of official business critical to the operation and function of the institution
  • To send important information to students regarding academic and financial issues
  • To alert the campus to emergency situations and conditions such as:
    • an imminent campus shutdown due to weather conditions
    • discovery of a situation that could jeopardize health and safety

All official University communications will be sent to this official University email address.

Email Use Expectations
Faculty, staff, and students are expected to check their University email on a frequent and consistent basis to ensure that they are staying current with all official communications, some of which may be time-critical.

All email users are expected to maintain their University email account in working order by appropriately managing their mailbox and staying within their disk space quota.

Forwarding Email
Faculty, staff, and students can forward email from their official University address to another email address if they so choose. However, they solely are responsible for managing both the URI account and the account to which the email is forwarded so as to ensure that all official University correspondence continues to be delivered.

Email lost because of forwarding does not absolve anyone from the responsibilities associated with communications sent to the official email address.

The University is not responsible for email handled by non-University servers.

Email Account Termination
Faculty and Staff:
When a faculty or staff member leaves the University, their email account remains active. Emeriti/Scholars accounts also remain active. Any email account not accessed for 6 months is considered abandoned and is subject to deletion.

Any email account can be terminated immediately by administrative request.

Official Bulk Email Messaging
Bulk email conforming to email communication guidelines can be sent to the entire University community or to large subgroups.

As such, official bulk email should be received and read as any other official document since it may affect day-to-day activities and responsibilities, and, in the case of students, pertain to their academic and financial standing.

Senders of official bulk email can expect the email to be accessed in a timely manner by its intended audience.

Appropriate Bulk Email Usage
Bulk email should be pertinent and of interest to the entire University community or to a large subgroup, timely, important, and affect the campus or large subgroup as a whole.

Messages should be non-commercial in nature, directly related to the mission and business functions of the University, and limited in size; attachments may not be used.

Official bulk email is intended for official University communications only. It is not to be confused with other electronic mailing lists that are available to everyone on campus or any email lists set up by individual offices and departments.

Valid official University communications include but are not limited to:

  • Messages from the President’s Office, the Provost’s Office, and other offices and departments that routinely deal with topics of importance and broad interest to the University community
  • Notices to employees on official business critical to the operation and function of the institution
  • Important information for students regarding academic and financial issues
  • Campus alerts on such emergency situations and conditions as power outages, public health and safety matters, weather-related shutdowns, and serious network security problems
  • Announcements that do not meet the requirements of urgency, importance, or relevancy, should be posted to electronic mailing lists or relayed through other methods. Examples of inappropriate communications include:
    • Notices of specific interest such as concerts, theatre performances, conferences, symposia, colloquia, and fraternity and sorority events
    • Advertisements for vendors or services
    • Non-emergency announcements of events for which there has already been, or will be, broad-based paper or voicemail distribution
    • Unverified public service announcements such as computer virus alerts and unsafe products
    • Solicitations – financial or otherwise – in support of causes or events

Bulk Email Submission Procedure
Requests to send bulk email to the University community or to a subset group can be submitted either by telephone or through email.

Telephone:
Director or Assistant Director of Communications
Department of Communications/News Bureau
874-2116
Email: lindaa@ADVANCE.URI.EDU

It is the right of this department to reject any request to send bulk email if the nature of the message is found to be unsuitable and/or does not meet the requirements of an official University communication as stated above.

Bulk Email Defined
Emergency Bulk Email:
An alert to the entire campus on a situation or event that could not have been anticipated or planned, which has a severe impact on the functioning of the University as a whole.

General Bulk Email:
Notification to the entire University or a large subgroup on a non-emergency topic that meets the requirements for official communications.

Required Information
When submitting a request via email, the following information must be included:

  • Audience to receive email message
  • URI office or department sponsoring the message
  • Draft message text
  • Contact information for anyone wishing to respond

When Sending Bulk Email
Keep in mind…

  • For security reasons, electronic signatures should not be used when sending official University email.
  • The process of sending bulk email generates a percentage of bounce-backs to the sender’s email account. These emails can easily be mistaken for “junk” and deleted.
  • Bulk email may generate a significant amount of responses; senders should check email frequently after the message is sent.
  • Bulk emails must be kept short; readers should be directed to a Website or other source for additional information.
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