Skip to main content

Electronic Mail Services

Fitchburg State University (hereafter referred to as “Fitchburg State”) recognizes that principles of academic freedom and shared governance, freedom of speech, and privacy of information hold important implications for electronic mail and electronic mail services (hereafter referred to as “email”). This policy reflects these principles within the context of Fitchburg State’s legal, operational and administrative obligations.

General Principles and Rules of Conduct

Fitchburg State encourages the use of email services to share information, improve communication and to exchange ideas in furtherance of Fitchburg State’s mission within the parameters of the following principles and rules of conduct:

Privacy

Fitchburg State does not routinely inspect, monitor or disclose email messages without the holder’s consent or the presence of special circumstances as explained below. Individuals are prohibited from gaining access to the email account of another individual without that person’s permission except in the limited circumstances where such access is authorized by this policy.

Public Record

Email, whether or not created or stored on Fitchburg State-owned equipment may constitute a public record under Massachusetts' Public Records Act or be subjected to mandatory disclosure under other laws, including laws compelling disclosure during the course of litigation. Users of Fitchburg State’s email services should be aware that Massachusetts' Public Records Act and similar laws prevent Fitchburg State from guaranteeing complete protection of even personal email resident on Fitchburg State equipment.

Responsible Use

Those who use Fitchburg State email services are expected to do so responsibly. Users are expected to comply with commonwealth and federal laws, with all Fitchburg State policies and within normal standards of professional and personal courtesy and conduct.

Access Restrictions

Access to Fitchburg State email services, when provided, is a privilege that may be wholly or partially restricted by Fitchburg State without prior notice and without the consent of the user when there is reason to believe that violations of law or Fitchburg State policy have occurred, or in other urgent or compelling circumstances.

University Property

Any email addresses or accounts associated with Fitchburg State are the property of Fitchburg State University.

Authorized Access and Disclosure

Fitchburg State may inspect, monitor, or disclose email without the consent of the holder of such electronic correspondence in special circumstances, such as:

  • When required by law
  • When required by University policy
  • There is reason to believe that violations of law or policy may have occurred or be occurring
  • Troubleshooting of the email system requires access

In the event inspection, monitoring or disclosure of email is required, Fitchburg State shall notify the affected individual(s) of the action(s) taken. For items 2 & 3, any such access or disclosure must be approved by the President.

Approved Communications

Email is the official method of communication for Fitchburg State. Only mailboxes with “FitchburgState.edu” suffixes are supported. Anyone who utilizes another email system, or forwards email from their “FitchburgState.edu” account to another, does so at their own risk and is responsible for ensuring they are in receipt of all intended communications.

Permitted Use

Users

Authorized users of Fitchburg State email services are limited to Fitchburg State students, faculty, alumni and staff for purposes that conform to the requirements of this policy.

Non-competition

Fitchburg State email services shall not be provided in competition with commercial services to individuals or organizations outside Fitchburg State.

Restrictions

Fitchburg State mail services shall not be used for: unlawful activities, commercial purposes not under the auspices of or for the benefit of Fitchburg State, personal financial gain or for purposes that violate this or other Fitchburg State policies.

Representation

Users of Fitchburg State email services shall not give the impression they are representing or making statements on behalf of Fitchburg State or any unit of Fitchburg State unless authorized to do so. Where appropriate, an explicit disclaimer shall be included unless it is clear from the context that the author is not representing the University.

False Identity

Users of Fitchburg State electronic mail services shall not employ false identities nor send email on behalf of other users unless specifically approved.

Interference

Fitchburg State email shall not be used for purposes that could reasonably be expected to cause, directly or indirectly, strain on computing systems or unwarranted or unsolicited interference with another’s use of email services. Such prohibited use includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Sending or forwarding chain letters
  • Using list servers or similar broadcast systems to accomplish the widespread distribution of unsolicited email (AKA “spam”)
  • Resending the same electronic mail repeatedly to one or more recipients to interfere with the recipient’s use of email services (AKA “letter bombing”)

Personal Use

Fitchburg State email services may be used for incidental personal purposes provided that, in additional to the foregoing constraints and conditions, such use does not burden Fitchburg State with noticeable incremental cost(s) or interfere with the user’s employment or other obligations to Fitchburg State.

Ownership

Use of the Fitchburg State email system to receive or transmit documents implies an acceptance that these messages are residing on and are the exclusive property of the University unless otherwise agreed upon in writing.

Security, Privacy and Confidentiality

Confidentiality

Fitchburg State attempts to provide secure and reliable email services. However, confidentiality of email cannot be assured. Expectations of confidentiality may be compromised by numerous sources such as:

  • As applicable under this policy
  • Technical problems or human error resulting in the unintended distribution of email
  • Compromised passwords used for unauthorized access
  • Interception of transmission of messages across the internet

Therefore, users of Fitchburg State email services should exercise extreme caution with using email services to communicate confidential or sensitive matters. If necessary, users should employ whatever protections (such as password protecting files, encrypting messages, etc.) that are available to them.

Unauthorized Disclosure

State and federal law and Fitchburg State policy require that certain records, including but not limited to, student records, peer review records and certain personnel information are confidential. Therefore, users of Fitchburg State email services are prohibited from transmitting, seeking out, using or disclosing confidential information without written authorization and without taking appropriate precautions, including the use of encrypting technologies or password protecting files to protect the integrity of the confidential information encountered in the performance of duties or otherwise.

Incidental Disclosure

During the performance of their duties, Information Technology personnel may need to observe transaction addressing information or messages to ensure proper functioning of the email or support systems. Except for these purposes as stated, Information Technology personnel are not permitted to intentionally see or read the contents of email messages, to read transactional information not germane to their purposes or to disclose to others what they have seen. The right of excepted personnel to read email is limited to the least invasive level of inspection necessary to perform assigned duties.

Removal of Information

Fitchburg State reserves the right to remotely delete data on devices that connect and download information from the University email system. This may include personal devices and personal information inadvertently removed by the email remote wipe process.

Retention

Beginning on May 1, 2009, email correspondence involving senior administration (defined by the Active Directory group: Executive Council) utilizing the Fitchburg State Outlook/Exchange email system shall be retained indefinitely. Correspondence prior to that is limited to whatever existed on the mail server on that date.

Beginning on May 1, 2009, email correspondence involving faculty/staff utilizing the Fitchburg State Outlook/Exchange email system shall be retained for a period not to exceed five years. Correspondence prior to that is limited to whatever existed on the mail server on that date.

Email sent or received during the course of your responsibilities on other email systems, including private systems, may be defined as Public Records and subject to retention under the Statewide Records Retention Schedule. You can find more information regarding these types of records under the Fitchburg State policy titled "Non-Fitchburg State Owned Email Retention Policy and Procedures".

Email messages shall be stored in a bulk-restorable format for 30 days. Users requesting individual message restoration or users requesting restoration of messages or folders past this date will be referred to the archive system at http://archive.fitchburgstate.edu.

Policy Violations

Misuse

Applicable laws and Fitchburg State policy strictly prohibit the theft or other abuse of computing resources and information. Such prohibitions apply to email services and include, but are not limited to, unauthorized entry, use, transfer and tampering with unauthorized accounts and files, interference with the work of others and computing facilities and the transmission of materials which pose a direct threat to safety, violate discrimination or harassment laws or policies, contain confidential information, or violate intellectual property laws. Any suspected misuse should be reported to the Information Technology department via the Help Desk at Ext. 4500.

Disciplinary Action

Violations of this policy may result in restriction of access to Fitchburg State information technology resources, in addition to appropriate disciplinary action up to and including expulsion, discharge or dismissal.

 

Chat with our team

Have questions?
Chat with an expert!
CHAT WITH AN EXPERT

New Chat