User E-Mail Responsibilities
Our electronic mail system is a finite resource that is intended to facilitate and support our mission as an institution of higher education. Because there are so many individuals who rely on this shared resource, respect for the rights and needs of others is central to this policy.
Users are asked to cultivate habits of responsible use:
- Deleting unneeded messages regularly
- Downloading attachments promptly and deleting accompanying messages
- Disconnecting from the mail server when not actively reading or sending mail
- Making use of conference folders to send messages to large groups, rather than individual mailing lists
- Respond only to the individual you are trying to reach, not to the entire list
- Backing up personal address lists
- Maintain backups of important messages on floppy disk, paper, USB flash drives or other media.
Users will refrain from any action which interferes with the system, such as:
- Sending file attachments over 20 MB in size
- Sending excessive or unsolicited e-mail or messages (such as chain letters, jokes or advertisements) locally or over the network to large numbers of individuals
- Knowingly acting in a manner that will disrupt normal operations or the network
Privacy of E-Mail
It is impossible to ensure the confidentiality of any electronic messages stored or communicated through our computing facilities. As pointed out by other universities, “The privacy of electronic mail is somewhere between that of a letter and a postcard.” Further, although every effort is made to deliver messages as specified by the sender, delivery to on-campus e-mail addresses is not guaranteed, and there can be no assurance that the recipient actually examined a particular message. In these respects, electronic mail is no different from interoffice mail. While confidentiality cannot be ensured, e-mail is not to be read by SUNY Optometry staff or any others with sufficient computer system privileges to do so, except as noted under Postmaster responsibilities for electronic mail.
Some information about personal mail use is not confidential because of the way computer systems operate. Depending on how a person uses e-mail, the following information can be seen by other people:
- The fact that someone is running a mail application
- The date and time the mail was last read (the history function)
Moreover, there are no assurances about the handling of e-mail received from or sent to addresses outside the College. Organizations managing e-mail systems elsewhere on the Internet may or may not have similar policies to those described here. Many are known to consider e-mail the property of the organization, subject to examination. Be aware of this possibility when you correspond with those elsewhere on the Internet.
Lastly, realize that a message you send to someone may easily be forwarded to many other individuals, whether or not you had intended it for broad distribution. Consequently, it is recommended that you never put something in an e-mail message that you would feel uncomfortable seeing on a public bulletin board in your department.