Interim Policy on Email Use at The University of Oklahoma

May 5, 2003


General Principles


The University of Oklahoma encourages and promotes the use of electronic mail to further its educational, instructive, and service missions for legitimate academic and administrative pursuits.  The purpose of this policy is to inform members of the University community on issues of appropriate use, privacy, and access of electronic mail.  The University greatly values the security and integrity of our users' email accounts and the information contained therein.  By using University-owned and provided email services, you agree to comply with all University policies, procedures and local, state and federal laws.  It is important to keep in mind that email is easily copied, forwarded, posted or otherwise shared with third parties and responsible use of the email services considers these issues. 


Email traffic, like other University networking and computing resources, may be monitored to ensure efficiency and to safeguard the University's resources in accordance with the Policy on Information Systems Security.


Users of  University email services have the responsibility to:


Spam, Junk Email, or Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE)


Spam is Internet slang for unsolicited or junk email, primarily unsolicited commercial email.  Spam has also been linked with fraudulent business schemes, chain letters, and offensive sexual and other inappropriate messages.


The University cannot protect email users from receiving mail that may be offensive to them.  However, the University attempts to block as much spam  as it can without hindering legitimate communications.


For information on what users can do about spam, please see :  Some things users can do about spam.


Mass Email Policy


Mass mailings are defined as mailings to large groups of faculty, staff, and/or students.  These groups are defined on the IT mass emailing site.


Messages that will be approved for distribution to these lists include, but are not limited to:



All approved mass email messages will contain the following:



Mass email messages cannot contain attachments.  Instead, a link to an appropriate web page that includes the detailed information will be provided by the sender.  The message should be in text format; i.e., avoid using formatting normally associated with a word-processing document or an HTML file such as fonts, boldface, italics, or variable type sizes.  Graphics should be avoided in the mail message.


Messages will be approved by the appropriate University official for the group to which the message is sent.


Editing of the content is the responsibility of the sender.


Privacy statement


Users of University email services are placed on notice that under the Oklahoma Open Records Act all records that are created by, received by, under the authority of, or coming into the custody, control, or possession of the University or University officials presumptively are public records.  Such records include messages stored in electronic or magnetic format.  All email communications, therefore, unless subject to a specific statutory privilege, are subject to production under the Oklahoma Open Records Act, and when relevant, to discovery in civil litigation.


There is no guarantee for privacy associated with the use of email resources.  It may be necessary to view electronic data, records, information related to those records, or information relating to the use of resources.  Please see the Policy on Information Systems Security for details on when, and by whom, email information may be monitored.


Account Maintenance


A disabled account is an account from which email cannot be sent. 


Guidelines for disabling of accounts include:




When it is determined that an email account is being used in a way that appears not to comply with University policy, the email account will be disabled.  Before an e-mail account is disabled, reasonable attempts will be made to contact the person responsible for the account.  When an account is disabled, it is the user's responsibility to contact the appropriate University officials and work collaboratively with those officials to resolve the problem. University officials ordinarily will provide information as to the basis for service interruption.


If the problem cannot be resolved, the Vice President with responsibility for the person whose email account was disabled will determine the proper resolution.  Appeals to the Vice President's decision will be handled through normal administrative channels.  Grievances shall be handled by the standard University grievance procedures. In case the grievance procedure requires an appeal to the Vice President who made the original decision, the Provost will handle the appeal.  If the original decision was made by the Provost, the Vice President for Administrative Affairs will handle the appeal.


The University considers violation of the Email Policy to be a serious offense and reserves the right to copy, monitor or examine any files or information residing on the University systems, networks or computing resources allegedly related to a violation of the Email Policy, and to protect its systems, networks and computing resources from events or behavior that threatens or degrades operations.  Violators are subject to disciplinary action including, but not limited to, penalties described in the Student Code, Faculty Handbook, and Staff Handbook.