Effective Date: June 29, 2007
Policy Number: 1055
Policy Purpose: To define appropriate use of electronic mail
HCC provides electronic mail (e-mail) for use by students, faculty, and staff. HCC encourages the appropriate use of e-mail to further its mission goals relating to instruction, management and administrative support. Incidental personal use is permitted provided that such use does not interfere with HCC operations, generate incremental identifiable costs to HCC, negatively impact the user's job performance, or violate the contents of the policy.
E-mail shall be considered an appropriate mechanism for official communication by HCC with faculty, staff, and students.
E-mail shall also be considered an appropriate mechanism for official communication by faculty with students. The College has the right to send official communications via e-mail to faculty, staff, and students with the full expectation that those communications will be received and read in a timely fashion. The same expectation may be held for faculty communicating via e-mail with students. Faculty, staff, and students who choose to have their e-mail forwarded to a private, unofficial e-mail address outside the official HCC network address (hutchcc.edu) do so at their own risk. The College is not responsible for any difficulties that may occur in the proper or timely transmission or access of e-mail forwarded to any unofficial e-mail address.
Official communications will be sent to the recipients' official HCC e-mail addresses. Faculty, staff, and students are expected to check their e-mail on a frequent and consistent basis in order to stay current with College and/or faculty-student related communications. Faculty, staff and students receiving official e-mail communication must insure that there is sufficient space in their accounts to allow for e-mail to be delivered. It should be recognized that certain communications may be time-critical. Faculty, staff, and students will not be held responsible for an interruption in their ability to access an e-mail message due to a system-related problem that may prevent the timely delivery or access to the message (power outages, system viruses, etc.).
Faculty members may determine how e-mail or other forms of electronic communication will be used in their classes, but must specify their requirements in the Introduction to Course Instructor Sheet. Faculty may expect that students are checking e-mail regularly, and may use e-mail for discussion and follow-up, course information dissemination, and other such course-related items as deemed necessary and appropriate for each course.
Official HCC communications include, but are not limited to, enrollment information, academic progress notifications, financial statements and other financial information, library overdue notices, policy announcements, and notification of official disciplinary hearings.
HCC e-mail may not be used for commercial purposes, for personal financial gain, to distribute chain mail, for personal advertisements, to support partisan political candidates, political party fundraising, or political causes, or to support outside organizations. Individuals who wish to use HCC e-mail in support of external organizations (charities, for example) must secure written or e-mail approval of the President. The President ordinarily will approve such use only when it furthers HCC's mission and goals.
The Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prohibits the dissemination of personal health information without the written consent of the person.
Registered student and campus organizations may use their e-mail to notify members of meetings, events, and fund raising activities.
HCC student e-mail addresses are not to be shared with other students without the student's permission. When sending e-mails to more than one student the sender must use the "blind copy" (BC) field and not the "TO" field.
HCC supports a climate of trust and respect and does not ordinarily read, monitor, or screen electronic mail. However, complete confidentiality or privacy of e-mail cannot be guaranteed. Confidentiality cannot be guaranteed because of the nature of the medium, the need for authorized staff to maintain e-mail systems, and HCC's accountability as a public institution. The President or his designee may authorize HCC's ITS system administrators to access employee or student e-mail in a number of circumstances including, but not limited to, situations involving the health or safety of people or property; possible violations of HCC's codes of conduct, regulations, or policies; possible violations of state or federal laws; subpoenas and court orders; other legal responsibilities or obligations of HCC; or the need to locate information required for College business.
Employees should use discretion when sending broadcast e-mail (a message sent to all members, rather than specific members, of a group; for example an e-mail sent to all HCC Groupwise mailboxes regardless of the relevance of the topic to the recipient would be considered broadcast e-mail). In addition to the official communications cited above, broadcast e-mail should only be used for messages from the Presidents Office, the Vice Presidents' offices, or other offices about mission-related matters or issues of broad interest to HCC community, and for emergency messages. HCC employees should use the e-bulletin board available on HCCWeb Services site to post items not related to the mission of the college.
Any request to use broadcast e-mail to contact students must be approved in advance and in writing or by e-mail by either the President or one of the HCC Vice Presidents.
HCC e-mail accounts remain the property of HCC. E-mail use that violates the law, rights of others or HCC policies or regulations, is a serious abuse. Such actions may subject an individual to termination of account privileges and/or appropriate disciplinary and/or legal action.