Section: Administrative
Policy Number: 1-21
Policy Name: Use of University-Wide Electronic Mailing Lists
Date: December 10, 2003
Revisions: April 10, 2009

  1. PURPOSE

    To define appropriate use of mass electronic mailings to large segments of the University of Delaware community and insure consistency in the use of University owned mailing lists for those purposes determined to be in the best interest of the University.

  2. POLICY

    1. Whenever possible, information of interest to large segments of the University community should be communicated through UDaily, the University's online news source. Mass electronic mailings (e-mail) should be used only when the overriding importance of the message requires such an approach.

    2. For purposes of this policy, mass e-mail is defined as e-mail to campus-wide segments of the University community: For example, all students, all undergraduate students, all graduate students, all faculty, all employees.

    3. Mass e-mail must be related to the mission or business operation of the University.

      If used properly, mass electronic mailings can be an efficient way to communicate with the University community. If not used judiciously, such e-mail can be both intrusive and inefficient. Most e-mail users find that mass e-mail lowers productivity; therefore, mass e-mail should be used only for messages that are of immediate or critical interest to large segments of the University community.

    4. Each instance of mass e-mail must be approved by the appropriate member of the senior administration (president, provost, executive vice president, vice president) or their designee. The message should include the name of the person who approved the message.

    5. E-mail notices to selected groups of University users are an effective alternative to mass e-mail to large segments of the University community. See section IV.B of this policy.

  3. PROCEDURE

    1. Determine the target population and message content.

    2. Contact the appropriate University official to obtain approval to send your message.

    3. After the approval has been received, contact the Office of Communications & Marketing for dissemination of the message. When possible, the Office of Communications & Marketing should be contacted at least 24 hours in advance of the time the message needs to be sent.

  4. ADVICE

    1. Message Content
      When constructing e-mail to a group, remember these guidelines:
      1. In most cases, shorter is better.
      2. Use a clear and concise subject line.
      3. The message should be composed in plain text.
      4. The message should include both the sender's name and an accompanying e-mail address.
      5. Use URLs rather than attachments to direct readers to additional information.

    2. Alternatives to Mass E-Mail
      There are several alternative methods of efficiently communicating your message to groups at the University.

      1. Create a web page with your content, and submit an announcement to UDaily announcing the web page.
      2. Use smaller University-owned e-mail lists to disseminate your information. The University maintains mailing lists to conduct business by providing services or information to other partners or sources when it is in the best interest of the of the University, the University community and its alumni. To minimize misuse of University mailing lists, it is the responsibility of mailing list owners or custodians to obtain an explanation of the intended purpose of the list from the requestor. The mailing list owner or custodian will then decide if the use is appropriate, in support of University approved activities and consistent with other UD policies. If the mailing list owner or custodian is not able to make this decision, then the request is sent to the Office of Communications & Marketing for consultation and determination. An opt-out provision must be offered whenever personal information is collected. All mailing lists shared externally must honor the opt-out provision. Individuals who have requested to opt-out will be included on lists utilized for University business but will not be included on lists used for non-university business. Examples:
        1. Send your message to CHAIRACADIR and ask department directors and chairs to forward the message to their faculty, staff, and students as they deem appropriate.
        2. Use an e-mail list to which interested parties can choose to subscribe to disseminate your information.
        3. Obtain permission of the Office of the Registrar to send a message to all graduating seniors.
        4. Obtain permission from the Office of Human Resources to send a message to large groups of employees (e.g., salaried staff, professional staff).
        5. Obtain permission from the Office of University Development to send a message to large groups of alumni/friends.
        6. Obtain permission from the Dean of a college to send a message to all majors in that college’s departments.

    3. Mailing Lists that Include Off-Campus E-Mail Addresses
      If your mass e-mail includes groups outside the University (e.g., alumni, friends, public officials), your e-mail may be subject to the provisions of the Federal CAN-SPAM Act (2003). For more information, consult the “Electronic Communications”; section of Responsible Computing: A Manual for Staff. If authorized, mailing lists can be generated for the following uses:

      1. Lists to be used by University approved student organizations for University business.
      2. Lists to be used by contracted business partners where the parameters of the use are contractually specified and approved by the University. The Director of Procurement may approve mailing list uses for other vendors on a case-by-case basis. This limited use requires that the mailing labels are applied and mailed at the University's mail processing center.
      3. Lists for specific use by a University department sponsored function must be submitted in writing. This use requires that the authorized University official (Department Chairs/Directors and above) include the following statement: "Approval to use this mailing list is limited to a single use and only for the purposes specified in the attached letter/e-mail/form requesting the specific mailing list."

    4. Unauthorized use of University owned mailing lists is prohibited including electronic mailing lists, which are governed by the Policy for Responsible Computing. The University will take the appropriate action to enforce this policy.

      Submitted by: University Registrar, Office of Human Resources, Information Technologies, Office of Communications & Marketing, Office of University Development and Alumni Relations.