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Appropriate Use of E-mail at New York University Policy

Title: Appropriate Use of E-mail at New York University Policy
Effective Date: April 12, 2011
Latest Revision: N/A
Issuing Authority: Executive Vice President for Finance and Information Technology; Vice President, Information Technology & Chief Information Technology Officer
Responsible Officer: Executive Vice President for Finance and Information Technology; Vice President, Information Technology & Chief Information Technology Officer

Policy

This policy statement conveys key requirements for the appropriate use of e-mail at New York University. NYU provides central e-mail services (hereafter called “NYU E-mail”) to members of the University community for purposes of furthering its educational mission and conducting institutional business. E-mail is a powerful tool and should be used responsibly, consistent with law and with the mission and policies of the University.

Purpose of this Policy

The purpose of this Policy is to specify the fundamental requirements for the appropriate use of e-mail at NYU. Those requirements cover:

  1. E-mail as an Official Means of Communication
  2. E-mail and Sensitive Information
  3. Personal and Directory E-mail Addresses
  4. Sending Bulk E-mail
  5. E-mail Relaying

Scope of this Policy

This Policy applies to all members of the University community who need to activate and actively maintain an NYU E-mail account and to all members of the community who connect computer systems to the campus network, NYU-NET.

Policy Specifications

  1. E-mail as an Official Means of Communication

    E-mail is considered an official means of communication at New York University. NYU provides central e-mail services to support the educational and administrative activities of the University and to serve as a means of official University communication to members of the community.

    The University has the need to send communications to students and employees via e-mail and the right to expect that those communications will be received and read in a timely fashion. NYU expects all full- and part-time students registered in a degree program, and all faculty, administrators, and staff to activate and actively maintain an NYU E-mail account in order to be able to receive University communications. Individuals may opt to forward their NYU E-mail messages to another e-mail account (e.g., @gmail.com or @msn.com), but do so at their own risk, as the University cannot guarantee the proper handling of e-mail by outside vendors or by departmental servers. Forwarding e-mail does not absolve an individual of the responsibilities associated with communication sent to his or her official NYU E-mail address (NetID@nyu.edu).

  2. E-mail and Sensitive Information

    NYU E-mail services are provided via NYU Google Apps for Education, which offers a level of privacy for NYU E-mail higher than the public Gmail offering. However, e-mail is not an inherently secure medium for sharing private information and should not be used to store or transmit Restricted Data, as defined in NYU's Reference for Data and System Classification (www.nyu.edu/its/policies/sec_ref.html), unless the body of the e-mail or attachment is fully encrypted. Transit encryption, as with SSL, is insufficient.

    E-mail is an important part of the business of the University, and it is essential that schools, departments, and other units take appropriate steps to ensure the continuity of that business when employees leave or change positions. This may be accomplished through the use of departmental aliases, use of Webspace or file servers for shared files, or for downloaded e-mail. Under no circumstances should account holders share passwords or accounts. Contact Technology Security Services (security@nyu.edu) for assistance with secure sharing of data.

    Data that fall within the jurisdiction of the federal export control laws and regulations require special consideration. It can be a federal crime for e-mail users to share export controlled data with others who are not United States citizens or permanent United States residents, or to transmit export controlled data to a location outside of the United States. NYU E-mail users are responsible for determining whether technical data, information, or technology is export controlled and, if so, whether it may be sent in e-mail and/or otherwise transmitted and stored in accordance with federal export control laws and regulations (www.nyu.edu/research/resources-and-support-offices/getting-started-withyourresearch/office-of-sponsored-programs/policies/export-control-regulations.html; http://exportcontrol.org).

  3. Personal and Directory E-mail Addresses

    Each NYU E-mail account holder may select a personal e-mail address, in practice an e-mail alias, equivalent to their official NetID@nyu.edu address. The personal e-mail address is published in the NYU Directory (for students on an opt-in basis) as the e-mail address for each individual unless the individual opts to publish a different NYU E-mail address instead.

    Personal e-mail addresses are available on a first-come, first-served basis to all NYU E-mail account holders. Unless changed by the individual or reclaimed by the University, a personal e-mail address will remain operational as long as NYU accepts or forwards e-mail for the individual.

    University employees are encouraged to select a personal e-mail address with the format: firstname.lastname@nyu.edu and to consult with their school, department, or other unit before selecting another format.

    Limitations:

    1. Your personal address should be derived from your name or nickname and cannot be or imply any University-related role.
    2. You may have only one personal e-mail address active at any given time.
    3. You may change your personal e-mail address only once per year: please be prudent in your selection.
    4. An address may consist exclusively of lowercase letters, numbers and the period (.). No other characters may be used.
    5. An address must be at least 4 and no more than 32 characters in length.
    6. It may not be similar in form to an NYU NetID, which consists of 2-6 alphabetic characters followed by 1-5 digits.
    7. You may not pick an address that misrepresents yourself or your role at the University.
    8. Profanities or other offensive words may not be used.
    9. An address that is no longer in active use may be reassigned to another person after 60 days.
    10. NYU reserves the right to reclaim any address it may need to use in carrying out the business of the University.
  4. Sending Bulk E-Mail

    Official e-mail communications from schools, departments, and other units of NYU should use the NYU Email Direct service for official communications to segments of the community.

    E-mail is a powerful tool for conducting business swiftly, without generating large amounts of paper. Email Direct has been designed to reach members of the community based on their roles and affiliations within the community, and ensures that e-mail lists are kept confidential, messages are properly scheduled for orderly delivery, bounced e-mail and other anomalies are handled in a structured environment, and that mailings are coordinated across the University.

    For assistance with Email Direct, visit the About Email Direct page, or send e-mail to email.direct@nyu.edu.

    Unofficial e-mail communications to large numbers of people should be sent only via a subscription list, from which individuals may unsubscribe. Senders of such unofficial e-mail must recognize their obligation to use the e-mail service responsibly and to abide by all NYU policies and procedures and federal, state, and other applicable laws and regulations.

  5. E-Mail Relaying

    E-mail relaying, the sending of e-mail messages between networked systems that run mail routing software, is a necessity in the cooperative world of the Internet. Unfortunately, this capability can be misused for sending unsolicited commercial e-mail, also known as spam.  While most desktop or laptop computers are not used for purposes of e-mail relaying, like large servers systems, they are capable of doing so.

    Computers connected to NYU-NET must be configured so that they do not relay e-mail messages from non-NYU computers to other non-NYU computers. With this configuration, machines outside NYU cannot use University resources as a conduit for the transmission of questionable mail, and NYU will avoid possible negative consequences of unintentionally distributing spam (such as domain blacklisting by Internet service providers). For assistance with this configuration, contact the IT Service Desk (AskITS@nyu.edu).

Related Policies

Page last reviewed: December 17, 2012