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STATEMENT OF POLICY

The purpose of this policy is to provide rules and guidance for the use of mass email to disseminate information within and beyond Rose Bruford College

1.PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to provide rules and guidance for the use of mass email to disseminate information within and beyond Rose Bruford College

2.JUSTIFICATION

Email is an important tool for academic, research and administrative communications; however, it is not the only tool, nor is it always the best tool. The cumulative amount of time spent by students and staff on processing unwanted email represents an enormous loss of personal and institutional productivity. Furthermore, improper use of mass email potentially exposes the college to blacklisting by various email providers and to liability under GDPR legislation. Thus, the standards and restrictions enacted by this policy are necessary to:

  • Provide for mass emailings at Rose Bruford College that are accessible, concise, consistent and coordinated
  • Establish guidelines for the appropriate use of mass email versus other communication tools
  • reduce the number of email messages sent to students and staff
  • ensure compliance with EU/UK law and the "best practice" expectations of recipients' email providers
  • Preserve the effectiveness of email as a communication tool, without unduly restricting the free flow of information within the RBC community

3.SCOPE

This policy applies to all mass email messages sent from an RBC-owned domain (bruford.ac.uk etc.), as well as to mass email messages sent through third-party services on behalf of any department of the college.

4.DEFINITIONS

  • Mass email is defined as identical or substantially similar messages sent to more than 100 addresses.
  • Unsolicited email is defined as any message that the recipient did not specifically request and would not reasonably expect to receive because of either an active, opt-in subscription to a mailing list or a current or past relationship with any part of the college (e.g., students, prospective students, alumni, employees, customers, etc.).
  • Mailing list is defined as a system that allows an email message to be sent to multiple addresses such that a recipient only sees his or her own address or an address representing the entire list in the To: or CC: field, without revealing the addresses of other recipients in the list.

5.RULES FOR MESSAGES

All mass email messages must conform to the following standards:

5.1. No spam

Sending unsolicited mass email—commonly known as spam—is prohibited.

5.2. Sender must use a RBC email address

The From: address must be a valid email address at bruford.ac.uk or another domain owned by the college and registered through the colleges IT department (for example, rosebrufordcollege.co.uk). Use of an address at a domain not owned by the college (such as gmail.com) to distribute mass email is prohibited.

5.3. Sender must provide contact information

The body text of the message must include contact information for the person, office or group that sent it. Minimally, the contact information must include a phone number and a valid email address at a domain owned by the college.

5.4. Recipients must be addressed using a mailing list

All recipient addresses must be concealed through the use of a mailing list. If a software limitation precludes the use of a mailing list, the BCC: field may be used to conceal the recipients' addresses instead; otherwise, use of the BCC: field to address mass email is prohibited.

5.5. Message must be clear and concise

The message must include a subject line that is relevant to the message's content, and the body text must be clear, concise and no longer than 500 words in length. Additional information, if needed, should be provided via a web link in the text.

5.6. No attachments

Accompanying files, if any, must be provided via a web link in the body text of the message, not attached to the message itself.

5.7. Message must be accessible

The message must be composed in either plain-text or multi-part plain-text/HTML. All information conveyed by the message must be in the text, not embedded in images or other elements that are inaccessible by text-to-speech software. Any images in the message must include "alt" text describing the image for low-vision readers.

5.8. Recipients must be allowed to unsubscribe

Unless it has been classified as essential under the provisions of section 7, Essential communications, the message must include a valid option to unsubscribe from future mailings. This option must be clearly visible in the body text of the message, and requests to unsubscribe must be processed and honoured within five business days.

6.RULES FOR MAILING LISTS

Any use of a mailing list for mass email is subject to the following provisions:

6.1. Creation, use and ownership of mailing lists

The college bulk email solution ‘dotMailer’ has the ability to create and manage external email lists

It is the responsibility of a mailing list owner to ensure that the members of any listed used are relevant to its use

6.2. Use of internal distribution mailing lists

Mailing lists addressing all faculty, all staff or all students—as well as other broad categories, such as "Academic staff" or "L4-students"—are managed by the IT department. Because the recipients of these lists cannot unsubscribe, messages to these lists are subject to the provisions of section 7, Essential communications. If the sender does not have direct access to a list, a request should be submitted to the Marketing department, which will send the message on the requestor's behalf if it qualifies as an essential communication.

6.3. Use of external mass email services

The college uses an external bulk email service called ‘dotMailer’ which provides a platform for creating and tracking email communication and campaigns, along with mailing lists. This service is managed by the Marketing department and requests for access to use this service should be direct to the Head of Marketing

6.4. Acquisition of email addresses

A mailing list containing email addresses acquired through sources external to the college may only be used to send mass email if the recipients were clearly informed before providing their email addresses that they were opting in to receive messages from third-parties.

7.ESSENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS

Any message that meets at least one of the following criteria may be classified as an essential communication and exempted from offering an unsubscribe option:

  • The message is essential to the mission or operations of the college.
  • The message is essential for student academic performance.
  • The message pertains to an urgent health or safety situation.
  • The message is required by law.

The Principals Office is charged with determining whether a given message qualifies under these criteria. In addition, certain messages shall automatically qualify as essential communications, as described in the subsections below, and do not require approval from the Principals Office before being sent.

7.1. Messages from senior staff

Any message approved by the principal, SMC members, senior academic staff or head of departments of the college is considered an essential communication.

8.ENFORCEMENT

Persons found in violation of this policy will be reported to Head of IT or Principal for further action. Violations may also result in the removal of mailing list or email access privileges and disciplinary action.