Date Established: 10/2007
Date Last Revised: 8/20/2011
Category: Information Technology
Responsible Office: Office of the Chief Information Officer
Responsible Executive: Chief Information Officer
Defines when and how use of mass digital communications may be used to broadcast time sensitive messages to large segments of campus audiences. This policy sets forth guidelines and procedures for appropriate use of mass digital communications.
Mass digital communications should be utilized only when a university emergency or an urgent need-to-know warrants their use and should be used sparingly. The appropriate university officer is responsible for determining whether a requested mass digital communication is warranted. It is also important to use multiple channels, that is alternative means, to broadcast emergency, urgent, and time-critical important information, since there is no guarantee that members of the university community will read their email or text messages in a timely manner. Mass text messages or alerts will be sent only to those who have opted in to or signed up for the service.
Many academic and administrative entities on campus are interested in using email and other digital communication services, such as text messaging, to send important but unsolicited messages to large segments of the university community: for example, to all students, all faculty, all staff, or to some combination of these large segments. The majority of messages intended for the campus community are best communicated by using MyUB, the university calendar on the Web and other official Web pages, regular campus mail, and printed materials, such as flyers. These methods continue to be preferred means of mass communication, rather than mass electronic mailings or text alerts.
University at Buffalo has made the Rave Wireless Emergency Text Alerts service available to instantly reach students, faculty, and staff in cases of major or catastrophic emergencies. This system is an "opt-in" system and mass text alerts to the campus community members "opting in" will be sent only in cases of major or catastrophic emergencies affecting the campus and campus community in whole or in part. Students have indicated in several surveys that they prefer email to text messaging for the delivery of official university communications.
The appropriate university officer must approve mass emailing and text alerts. The officer will consider whether the request is appropriate in light of the criteria and guidelines noted above.
Requests for mass email should be directed as follows:
In an emergency, the approval process outlined above will be suspended. In accordance with our Emergency Communications Plan, University Police and University Communications will have the authority to approve mass email notification and text alert requests in a campus emergency, as well as to provide the timely notice of crime risks to the campus community. For more information on how UB handles mass notifications in emergencies, please see the UB Alert Emergency Information web site.
If the request is approved, the university officer granting approval will send the mass email message to the CIO office that will have the message distributed to the appropriate recipient group. For those messages not deemed appropriate for mass distribution, the requester will receive a message indicating this.
For non-emergency notifications, lead time of at least one working day is required for any mass emailing, since several hours may be required to set up a mass emailing and messages will be sent in batches over several hours so that normal university email delivery will not be seriously impacted and degraded.
Mass Digital Communications
Messages sent, unsolicited, to large segments of the university population using email, text messaging, or voice telephony. Does not include digital signage.
Appropriate broadcast topics include, but are not limited to:
Inappropriate broadcast topics include, but are not limited to:
Campus email systems and email addresses are provided and intended to be used primarily for university purposes, and UB strives to send only those unsolicited messages that provide important or useful content to UB community members.
In general, people do not like to receive unsolicited email and may let you know this via heated replies.
This policy applies to all university data regardless of its medium or form, and to all those who handle university information (faculty, staff, students, third party contractors, and any others).
The Chief Information Officer or designee will periodically review and update this policy as needed. Questions concerning this policy should be directed to the Office of the Associate VP for Information Technology.
Violations of this policy will result in appropriate disciplinary measures in accordance with university policies, applicable collective bargaining agreements, and state and federal laws.
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