Transmission of Messages Via Broadcast Communication
Rules and procedures governing the use of broadcast messaging systems
Transmission of messages via broadcast communication takes place at Georgetown University subject to the philosophy, definitions, and procedures outlined below.
This policy is intended to cover group electronic communication sent via the University-s voice and email system(s).
This policy applies to all students, faculty and staff at Georgetown University, as well as any others given access to Georgetown email and messaging systems.
Georgetown University is committed to the use of broad-based electronic communication to improve the efficiency of information exchange, to reduce environmental (paper) waste in communications, to improve the University’s ability to provide targeted services, and to help build community.
Broad-based electronic communications include broadcast voice mail (“audix”) messages and email postings to involuntary and voluntary mailing lists. Voice mail and email that is sent using University-provided systems and services is intended for use for official University business or University-related purposes only.
Definitions and Examples
Broadcast voice mail messages: A broadcast (“audix”) voice mail is one that is sent to everyone on the University phone system.
Data Stewards: Stewards are those members of the University community who have the primary responsibility for particular information. See Georgetown University Information Security Policy
Information Service Providers: Information Service Providers (“Service Providers”) are UIS and those campuses, schools, departments and individuals that manage significant information resources and systems for the purpose of making those resources available to others. See Georgetown University Information Security Policy
Involuntary Email Groups and Mailing Lists are created from University-held information about students, faculty, staff, and others. These lists may include, for example, all members of the University community or subsets, such as all faculty, all students, all medical students, all faculty in the College, students in a particular school, major or course, etc. Recipients cannot elect to be excluded from these mailings. Two types of lists are available:
- Automated Lists: University Information Services (UIS) maintains automated mailing lists for large segments of the University community (e.g., all undergraduate students, Medical Center faculty) as authorized by the data stewards.
- Ad Hoc Groups of recipients: Certain University agents have the ability to create mailing lists for targeted populations. These agents include the President’s Cabinet, Executive Officers, the Deans, and their designees, particularly the stewards of University data, including for example, the Registrars, Financial Aid Officers, and the Human Resources Offices.
Voluntary Email Groups and Mailing Lists are composed of members (students, faculty, staff and/or others) who have chosen to subscribe to such lists. Postings are directed to all list members. Faculty, staff and student organizations eligible for access to benefits may use voluntary lists.
Administration and Implementation
These guidelines are intended to keep the volume of messages at a reasonable level and to ensure that electronic lists remain a reliable means of communication at Georgetown University. “Junk messages” are annoying and may defeat the goal of effective communication using these technologies. They also place undue burden on personnel and server and network resources. These guidelines are intended to serve as examples to keep the volume of messages at a reasonable level, and ensure that these lists remain a reliable means of communication.
Use. Broadcasts and mailing lists may be used for announcements and messages concerning:
- emergencies, health and safety;
- University events and deadlines, and notification of the availability of services and/or facilities, aggregating messages where possible;
- matters of policy or processes, including changes in campus policies, procedures, organizations, or departments; or
- timely communication that has direct impact on members of the University community.
Appropriateness: As a general principle, the larger the number of recipients, the greater the need for establishing that the recipients will find a particular message useful. Questions about appropriateness of message or audience may be addressed to the data steward (e.g., campus Registrars for student data). In addition, voice messages require approval from a Cabinet Officer. Points to consider when sending a broadcast message include:
- Ensure that the subject of the message is relevant to the audience, is of interest and not repetitive, and related to the topic of the list. (e.g., do not send a message to all employees if the message is applicable only to faculty and students).
- Ensure that the message is clearly worded and not offensive to the recipient.
- Ensure that the message is significant enough that it would be sent even without the ease of email or voicemail. For example, is the message one that would be printed and mailed, or produced in “flyer form” and posted or distributed?
- Consider sending the message through representative groups. For example, in sending a message to Main Campus Faculty, contact the Faculty Senate, the Provost, School Dean or Department Chair.
- Consider more efficient mechanisms for dissemination of the information, such as the online web calendar (see: http://events.georgetown.edu).
Inappropriateness: It is generally inappropriate to:
- Send mass messages of a commercial, political, lobbying, or fundraising nature. No University resources can be used for partisan political activities.
- Forward chain letters or electronic “petitions,” or to ask recipients to forward messages.
- Send anonymous mailings.
- Solicit support (financial or otherwise) for charity, or special causes not connected with a Georgetown University effort.
- Send unverified public service announcements (such as virus alerts, unsafe products, lost and found, items for sale, giveaways, etc).
- Include attachments if the information is or can be posted on a University web site.
Voice Messages: When sending a broadcast voice message, users will follow established procedures. See: http://broadcast.georgetown.edu/broadcast.voice.html
User Responsibility: When sending broadcast emails, mailings will be directed to a user’s Georgetown University-provided email account (firstname.lastname@example.org). Regardless of what system is being used for email – GUMail, MSBmail, Lawmail, or another email provider – the user of electronic mail is responsible for ensuring that his/her electronic mail is routed to a reliable email service. In particular, students are responsible for the information contained in all official email messages sent from the University. Failure to use the email resources is not an acceptable excuse for failure to comply with directives sent by the University via email. For more information, see: http://broadcast.georgetown.edu/broadcast.email.html.
Involuntary and Group Email lists:
- Automated Lists: Permission to use automated mailing lists is obtained from the appropriate Cabinet Officer for each campus or his/her designate, including data stewards, or the Office of Communications. The appropriate Cabinet Officer typically approves the message to be posted. Messages being sent University-wide will typically be approved by and coordinated with the offices of the campus Executive Vice Presidents. For more information about automated mailing lists, see http://broadcast.georgetown.edu/restricted/broadcast.email.lists.html.
- Ad Hoc Lists: The President, the members of the President’s Cabinet, Deans, custodians of University data, and their designees have the ability to send targeted mailings to segments of the Georgetown University community through specialized involuntary electronic mailing lists created from University held data. The ability to post to these lists indicates that the authority otherwise vested in the Cabinet Officer has been conveyed to another person.
When mailing to these lists:
- Cabinet Officers are responsible for messages posted to involuntary automated lists. Agents to whom authority to post messages to involuntary automated lists has been delegated may not further delegate this authority without the express written permission of the appropriate Cabinet Officer or data steward.
- Cabinet Officers are responsible for ensuring that the appropriate procedures are in place to review and approve messages prior to posting.
- Those officials with the authority to post to involuntary ad hoc lists are responsible for ensuring that their designees receive adequate training and guidance regarding the appropriateness of content and the use of proper techniques for posting messages. This authority may not be further delegated without the express written permission of the person making the delegation of this authority.
- Use will be consistent with the agent’s or his/her designee’s authority to access University data and information; for example, a representative of the College may send targeted mailings only to College constituents, not constituents of the Law or Medical schools.
- Only tools intended specifically for the purpose of email distribution and provided or approved by University Information Services (UIS) may be used. UIS will work with Information Services Providers to ensure integration with enterprise university services.
- Logs of broadcast messages must be kept, including sender, recipients and a copy of the message itself.
- When possible and appropriate, each message will clearly state both who sent the message and the recipient groups (e.g., all main campus faculty, all GUMC staff, all students, etc.). However, the detailed list of recipients must remain confidential with respect to the actual message, that is the list of recipients will not be visible in the TO: or CC: or any other email header field such that a program or user might act on the information.
- Replies will be to sender or other appropriate designee, not the entire list.
Emergency Situations: In emergency situations centralized communications are necessary to ensure that accurate information is being disseminated. During such times all broadcast voice and email messages will be coordinated through the Office of Communications, consistent with Georgetown’s emergency operating procedures.
Other Provisions: Any individual wanting to send a broadcast message that is not in keeping with the provisions of this policy, but that is felt to be of vital importance to the community, shall send a request for an exception to: help at georgetown dot edu. The request will be directed to the appropriate University official. If the exception is approved, that University official or his/her designee will post the message. Approval or denial will be communicated to the person making the request.
The HelpDesk in University Information Services (UIS) should be notified of inappropriate mail (send email to help at georgetown dot edu or call 202-687-4949) If you think private information has been disclosed, notify email@example.com. In both cases, the matter will be referred to the appropriate University official.
Electronic mailing list use is subject to the terms of the Georgetown University Computer Systems Acceptable Use Policy, as well as other applicable University policy, and Federal or local statutes. Use of mailing lists is also subject to review by Internal Audit.
Approved ad interim by H. David Lambert, Vice President for Information Services and CIO – August 1, 2003. Approved by the President’s Executive Committee October 28, 2003
This policy will be reviewed as needed, but particularly when there are significant changes in voice or email systems or policies, and/or underlying information systems or services.