Division of Information and Technology

Email Communication Policy

Division of Information and Technology

Email Communication Policy

University of Southern Maine
Effective Fall 2006

Policy Statement

In order to meet the academic and administrative needs of the University community, the University of Southern Maine has established email as an official and primary means of communication to all of its students, accepted and/or enrolled. In some cases, email may be the only form of communication. Official University assigned email accounts are created for all accepted and/or enrolled students usually in the form of FirstName.LastName@maine.edu. Students are responsible to read all information sent to them via their University assigned email account. The University assigned email account is the MaineSteet "Business" email address, regardless of email account preference. The University has the right to expect that such communications will be received and read in a timely fashion. Beginning Fall 2006, it is imperative that students understand that a majority of University information will be communicated to them via their University assigned email account. Confidential information will not be sent via email. If the University needs to convey sensitive information to the student and the information cannot be conveyed using the password protected Student Self-Service venue, the University will send the information via United States Postal Service (USPS). The University reserves the right to notify students via email when any action on the students part may be necessary. Some actions can be accomplished using the University's Student Information Systems that are made available through special links that are password protected.

Definition of "Official"

Any timely notification that will positively or negatively impact a student, such as:

  • Student Record (including Financial Aid Status)
  • Academic Program/Completion of degree-sought
  • Attendance, conduct, safety or status within the University community
  • Knowledge of information mandated by federal, state or local laws

Student Responsibilities and Expectations

  • Students are responsible for activating their assigned University email account. The Account Activation web site https://mail.maine.edu has been designed for this purpose.
  • Students are expected to check their email on a frequent (daily) basis, as they do their USPS mail, in order to stay current with University-related communications.
  • Students have the responsibility to recognize that certain communications may be time-critical.
  • Students should not assume that email is private and confidential. Students should never use email to communicate confidential or sensitive information. To minimize risk, confidential information may be made available through special links that are password protected. The University will never ask for student passwords.
  • While the University strongly advises that students not redirect email that is sent to their University email account, students may have their University email redirected from their official @maine.edu address to another email address, such as @hotmail.com or @aol.com, but at their own risk. Having email redirected does not release a student from the responsibilities associated with the official communication sent to their @maine.edu account.
  • Students are asked to check and read email daily. Error due to forwarding or redirecting mail, insufficient mailbox space, or email returned to the University for any reason may result in missing notifications or deadlines that have been distributed via email. Students are responsible for acting upon all email sent to their University-provided email address just as they would respond if the information were sent through the USPS.
  • The University provides generic departmental email addresses to its Academic and Administrative offices. Students should use the "REPLY" command when corresponding with the University unless otherwise specified. This allows the department control in routing the students needs to either an appropriate staff person or to ANYONE in that department that can be of service to the student.
  • Students are expected to check departmental web sites on a regular basis to get up-to-date University information. Pamphlets, brochures, and federally mandated materials/notifications will be readily available for students to access frequently, at their convenience and without notification. The University is not responsible for the student's failure to access such materials.
  • Students with disabilities should work with the Office of Support for Students with Disabilities so that the University can accommodate both the students' and the Universities needs in regards to this policy.

University Responsibilities and Expectations

  • The University has an Account Activation web site specially designed for the student to activate their email account.
  • The University's Academic and Administrative offices will not use email to communicate confidential or sensitive information. To minimize risk, confidential information may be made available through special links that are password protected or sent via USPS. Only "Official" University business that does not contain personal or sensitive information will be communicated via email.
  • The University reserves the right to use email as the only form of communicating "Official" University business to students. The originating Academic or Administrative department will select the form of communication best suited to a particular announcement and targeted group(s).
  • The originating Academic or Administrative department is responsible for getting time-sensitive materials to students via their University email address using the University approved software application.
  • The originating Academic or Administrative department is responsible for the content of "Official" communication to students.
  • The Office of Admission is responsible for contacting accepted undergraduate students.
  • The Office of Graduate Admission is responsible for contacting accepted graduate students.
  • Departments other than the Office of Admission wishing to contact accepted undergraduate students should coordinate with the Office of Admission.
  • Departments other than the Office of Graduate Admission wishing to contact accepted graduate students should coordinate with the Office of Graduate Admission.
  • The University will work with the Office of Support for Student with Disabilities if necessary to ensure that the University accommodates both the students' and the University's needs in regards to this policy.

Privacy

It is a violation of University policies for any user of official email addresses to impersonate a University office, faculty/staff member, or student, see Electronic Mail Policy, Policy Principles. Users should be cautioned to send messages only to the intended "targeted" group(s). Again, users should use extreme caution in using email to communicate confidential or sensitive information and should not assume that email is private and confidential. The University will not use email to transmit confidential or sensitive information. To minimize risk, confidential information may be made available through special links that are password protected or the University will send the information via United States Postal Service.