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Internal Audit Office

Kansas State University
214 Anderson Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-0118

 

785-532-7308
785-532-0186
internalaudit@k-state.edu

Electronic Mail Policy

Chapter 3455
Revised September 2, 2010

Table of Contents

.010 Introduction
.020 Policy
.030 Related Kansas Law and Board of Regents Policy
.040 Questions

.010 Introduction

This Policy clarifies the applicability of law and certain other University policies to electronic mail. Users are reminded that all usage of KSU's information technology resources including electronic mail is subject to all University policies including the Information Technology Usage Policy found at http://www.ksu.edu/policies/ppm/3400/3420.html.

.020 Policy

The University encourages the use of electronic mail and respects the privacy of users. Nonetheless, electronic mail and data stored on the University's network of computers may be accessed by the University for the following purposes:

For items a-g, the extent of the access will be limited to what is reasonably necessary to acquire the information and/or resolve the issue.

  1. troubleshooting hardware and software problems,
  2. preventing unauthorized access and system misuse,
  3. retrieving University business related information, *
  4. investigating reports of alleged violation of University policy or local, state or federal law,*
  5. complying with legal requests (e.g.; court orders) for information, *
  6. rerouting or disposing of undeliverable mail,
  7. addressing safety or security issues.

* The system administrator will need written approval, including e-mail, indicating the extent of access that has been authorized from the Vice Provost for Academic Services and Technology or the Vice Provost's designee, to access specific mail and data for these purposes.

To the greatest extent possible in a public setting individuals' privacy should be preserved. However, there is no expectation of privacy or confidentiality for documents and messages stored on University-owned equipment.

Users of electronic mail systems should be aware that, in addition to being subject to authorized access, electronic mail in its present form cannot be secured and is, therefore, vulnerable to unauthorized access and modification by third parties. Receivers of electronic mail documents should check with the purported sender if there is any doubt about the identity of the sender or the authenticity of the contents, as they would with print documents. Users of electronic mail services should be aware that even though the sender and recipient have discarded their copies of an electronic mail record, there may be back-up copies of such electronic mail that can be retrieved.

University electronic mail services may, subject to the foregoing, be used for incidental personal purposes provided such use does not interfere with University operation of information technologies including electronic mail services, burden the University with incremental costs, or interfere with the user's employment or other obligations to the University.

Registered student and campus organizations such as the College Republican Club or the Young Democrats may use their membership listservs to notify members of meetings, speeches, or rallies. Faculty members may use electronic systems for course-related discussions of political topics. Individuals may use e-mail to exchange ideas and opinions, including those dealing with political issues. The latter is generally considered an incidental use of the e-mail system. However, University information technology resources, including e-mail, may not be used to support partisan political candidates or party fundraising. This statement is consistent with Kansas law and Board of Regents policy on political activity. (See Kansas law and Board of Regents policy printed at the end of this policy.)

Electronic mail may constitute a public record like other documents subject to disclosure under the Kansas Open Records Act or other laws, or as a result of litigation. However, prior to such disclosure, the University evaluates all requests for information submitted by the public for compliance with the provisions of the Act or other applicable law. In addition, electronic mail may constitute University records subject to the University's Retention of Records Policy (PPM, Chapter 3090). As such, they may need to be retained for longer than an e-mail system is capable of retaining them. It is the responsibility of the sender/recipient to determine if a particular e-mail message constitutes a university record.

If an e-mail message is a university record (as defined in PPM, Chapter 3090) it is subject to the same retention period as the paper equivalent. E-mail messages which require long-term retention should be either retained electronically on retrievable media or printed, including all header and transmission information, and filed with their electronic or paper equivalents by the sender/recipient. K-Staters should not consider back-up media on the central system as permanent archival storage (e-mail back up media are only available for 30 days).

Incidental personal electronic mail which is not subject to the Retention of Records Policy may be destroyed at the user's discretion.

Faculty, unclassified professionals, and classified employees may not suppress publication of (e.g., unlist) their University Computing ID in the on-line white pages, K-State Phone Book or other official publication of Kansas State University. Exceptions for special circumstances must be approved by the Vice Provost for Academic Services and Technology (VPAST) or official designee.

E-mail is considered a formal communication by the University with faculty, staff and students. Faculty, staff and students are expected to check their e-mail on a frequent and consistent basis in order to stay current with University and/or faculty-student related communications. For more information regarding official correspondence see the policy on Official Electronic Correspondence with Faculty, Staff and Students at http://www.ksu.edu/policies/ppm/3400/3460.html.

Violations of University policies governing the use of University electronic mail services may result in restriction of access to University information technology resources in addition to any disciplinary action that may be applicable under other University policies, guidelines or implementing procedures, up to and including dismissal.

In January of each year the Vice Provost for Academic Services and Technology will report to the Faculty Senate regarding cases dealt with that year. For privacy purposes all names will be omitted.

.030 Related Kansas Law and Board Of Regents Policy

Kansas Statutes Annotated (K.S.A.) 25-4169a. Use of public funds, vehicles, machinery, equipment and supplies and time of certain officers and employees to influence nomination or election of candidate prohibited; exceptions; misdemeanor.

(a) No officer or employee of the State of Kansas, any county, any unified school district having 35,000 or more pupils regularly enrolled, any city of the first class or the board of public utilities of the city of Kansas City, Kansas, shall use or authorize the use of public funds or public vehicles, machinery, equipment or supplies of any such governmental agency or the time of any officer or employee of any such governmental agency, for which the officer or employee is compensated by such governmental agency, to expressly advocate the nomination, election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate to state office or local office. The provisions of this section prohibiting the use of time of any officer or employee for such purposes shall not apply to an incumbent officer campaigning for nomination or reelection to a succeeding term to such office or to members of the personal staff of any elected officer.

(b) Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a class C misdemeanor.

Kansas Board of Regents Policy and Procedures Manual (15F, section d): In the interest of the fullest participation in public affairs, personnel are free to express opinions speaking or writing as an individual in signed advertisements, pamphlets and related material in support of or opposition to parties and causes. There will be the commensurate responsibility of making plain that each person so doing is acting for himself and not in behalf of an institution supported by tax funds drawn from citizens of varying political and economic views.

.040 Questions

Questions regarding this policy should be sent to the Chief Information Officer at its@k-state.edu.