Mass Digital Communications
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.
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. Please see UB
All Hazards Emergency Plan for information on the definition of
major and catastrophic emergencies. Students have indicated in
several surveys that they prefer email to text messaging for the
delivery of official University 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,
as outlined in the procedures below and in the UB
All Hazards Emergency Plan will be 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/alerts will be sent only to those
who have opted in to/signed up for the service.
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
Requests for mass email should be directed as follows.
- The Office of the Vice President for University Life and
Services in the case of email directed solely to students
- The Office of the Provost in the case of email directed solely
to faculty members
- The Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration
in the case of email directed solely to staff members
- The Office of the President or the President's designee in the
case of email directed to any combination of all students, faculty,
- The Office of Vice President for Development and Alumni
Relations in the case of email directed solely to alumni.
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
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.
Guidelines for Mass Email
Appropriate broadcast topics include, but are not limited
- urgent security (physical or computer) matters, such as bomb or
terrorist threats, computer system threats
- campus-wide policy changes that are time critical, such as a
new immunization requirement or other legal requirement that must
be met for continuing matriculation at the University
- other time critical financial and administrative deadlines
- natural disaster alerts
- administrative announcements that are time critical
Inappropriate broadcast topics include, but are not limited
- any message whose content is not relevant to UB's mission of
teaching, research, and public service
- the announcement of events
- club or group information
- any commercial mailing
- any solicitation except as approved by the President for
- personal messages
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/useful content to UB community members.
Additional Criteria for Email Messages
- Email Subject: The Subject line must be descriptive.
- Email Body:
- The initial text of the message should indicate that it is a
broadcast message and the office sending the message.
- The message body should indicate why the message is being sent
and to whom the message is being sent.
- The name, email address, and phone number of a person to
contact should be contained in the message.
- The broadcast message must contain plain text only. No
graphics, bolding or other font styles are permitted.
- Attachments, such as Microsoft Word documents, are not
- Messages should be brief and to the point. Provide instructions
on how additional information can be obtained.
- Any hyperlinks should include the fully qualified (include the
http:// part) protocol to assure that most recipients will
see "active" links in your message.
- The message must be approved by the department head of the
individual sending the request and should be proofread for
spelling, grammatical and content errors.
- A notice that the mass emailing has been approved by the
appropriate University officer must be included. (See the
Responsibilities area above for the list of appropriate University
In general, people do not like to receive unsolicited email and
may let you know this via heated replies.
Applicability of Policy
This policy applies to all University data regardless of its
medium and/or form, and to all those who handle University
information (faculty, staff, students, third party contractors, and
Policy Review and Update
The Chief Information Officer or his 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
Violations of this policy will result in appropriate
disciplinary measures in accordance with University policies,
applicable collective bargaining agreements, and state and federal
Office of Chief Information Officer
517 Capen Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260
Chief Information Officer Approval