Email Policy

MUPIM 19.7

Electronic mail (E-mail) has become the primary method of communication within the Miami University community.  The use of email is governed both by internal policies and external, mostly legal, requirements.  It is important that each member of our community understand these policies and requirements so that they can exercise their rights and responsibilities effectively and appropriately when using E-mail. This E-mail policy covers all uses and users of the University’s E-mail system – including messages sent to and from University email addresses.

Access to E-mail: (MUPIM 19.7.A)
Miami University’s email and computing network was developed and is maintained for the University’s educational mission and the benefit of our students, faculty, and staff.  Miami’s computing services are dedicated to the support of our instruction, research, and service missions; student and campus life activities; and University administrative services.

Miami’s email system is not available for external solicitation.  All external users are expected to comply with all applicable laws including the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM.)

University E-mail services are provided for the University-related activities of faculty, students, staff, and other individuals and entities granted e-mail privileges at Miami University, as well as connections between on-campus electronic mail systems and external data networks. The use of University E-mail — like the use of any other University-provided resource and like any other University-related activity — is subject to the requirements of legal and ethical behavior within the University community. Thus, the legitimate use of University E-mail does not extend to whatever is technically possible.

Violations of this policy or any other applicable University policy or regulation may subject the user to revocation or limitation of e-mail privileges as well as other disciplinary actions or may be referred to appropriate external authorities.

Miami University E-mail Account (MUPIM 19.7.B):
Information Technology (IT) is the owner of centralized E-mail and directory information, and provides creation, management, and distribution of Miami University E-mail accounts.

Persons with access to a University-owned computer on campus, students, and faculty are required to activate their University E-mail account and to use it for all University business.  Faculty, staff and students are expected to read, and shall be presumed to have read, all official  Miami University E-mail messages sent to their University E-mail accounts.

Acceptable Use (MUPIM 19.7.C):
University E-mail is available for activities and associated administrative functions supporting the University’s mission of learning, discovery, and engagement. Although modest personal use of the University’s E-mail and computing network is permitted, University E-mail accounts and the computing network should be primarily used for University-related educational and administrative purposes. Any use of University E-mail or computing network that disrupts or interferes with University activities and functions is improper. Policies and regulations that apply to other forms of communications at the University also apply to electronic mail- including the University’s Policy Prohibiting Harassment and Discrimination.

In addition, the following specific actions and uses of University E-mail are improper:

  1. Concealment or misrepresentation of names or affiliations in e-mail messages.
  2. Alteration of source or destination address of e-mail.
  3. Use of e-mail for commercial or private business purposes.
  4. Use of e-mail for organized political activity or political solicitation.
  5. Use of e-mail to harass or threaten others or threaten to cause physical harm or damage to property.

Public Records and Privacy (MUPIM 19.7.D):
Any E-mail sent to or from a University email address or residing on a Miami University E-mail server may be considered a public record under the Ohio Public Records Act (ORC 149.43) and may be subject to disclosure. See- Public Records Policy – http://blogs.miamioh.edu/miamipolicies/?p=186

Miami University does not monitor the content of electronic mail as a routine procedure. The University reserves the right to inspect, copy, store, or disclose the contents of electronic mail messages, but will do so only when it believes these actions are appropriate to: prevent or correct improper use of University E-mail; ensure compliance with University policies, procedures, or regulations; satisfy a legal obligation; or ensure the proper operations of University E-mail functions or the Miami University Data Network.  Any Miami University employee who believes such actions are necessary must first obtain the written approval of one of the following:   appropriate divisional vice president (or the president for those units that report to the president), Ass. Vice President for IT Security Compliance and Risk Management, the General Counsel, the Director of the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity, the Associate Vice President for Human Resources or the Assistant Provost for Academic Personnel Services.

Use of E-mail for University Business (MUPIM 19.7.E):
The Miami University E-mail Account shall be considered an official means for communicating University business, and may in some cases be the sole means of communication. Because the contents of such E-mail are subject to laws governing public records, users will need to exercise judgment in sending content that may be deemed confidential. Common examples of confidential contents include but are not limited to: student grades, social security numbers, home addresses, individual donor profile information, and data subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) or the  Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  See Confidential Information Policy- http://blogs.miamioh.edu/miamipolicies/?p=240 for additional Information.

The Office of the President, University Communications and Marketing, Miami University Police, deans, vice presidents, and their designees may send campus-wide E-mail messages relating to University business without any prior approval. The author of any business messages, however, assumes responsibility for assuring that messages do not violate any University policies, regulations, or procedures. Disclaimers of confidentiality included in E-mail messages do not protect the sender if confidential information is shared or disclosed inappropriately.

E-Mail Retention and Disposal (MUPIM 19.7.F):
E-mail stored on official University systems is preserved indefinitely after deletion by the E-mail user. E-mail users storing messages on Miami University servers often have the capability to “archive” E-mail items to files. This effectively allows users to save any E-mail messages for any length of time.

E-mail correspondence and associated documents sent as attachments may be considered official University records, and, as such, may need to be retained longer than the established policy guidelines for transient record retention.  It is the responsibility of the sender and recipient of these E-mail messages to determine the required retention period, to comply with applicable University policies and procedures regarding record retention, and to preserve these e-mail records either electronically or in printed form with all of the associated header and transmission information. See Miami University’s Record Retention Manual- https://miamioh.edu/_files/documents/general-counsel/Records_Manual_Intro_508.pdf  for more information.

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