University of Technology Sydney UTS: Rules, Policy and Legislation

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UTS Email Policy
Approved by: Council, 19 April 2004 (COU/04/053)
Amended by: Council, 16 August 2004 (COU/04/102)
Responsible Officer: Executive Director (Organisational Support)
Notes: This Policy should be read in conjunction with the Guidelines for the Use of Email.
This Policy is current, however is under review.

1. Policy

1.1 Policy intent

This statement of policy clarifies the applicability of legal and other University requirements to electronic mail (email). In general, use of University email services is governed by policies that apply to the use of all University computing and networking facilities and in particular by the Acceptable Use of Information Technology Facilities Policy. Further information on the detail of this policy can be found in the Guidelines for the Use of Email that should be read in conjunction with this policy.

1.2 Policy objectives

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that:

  • the University community is informed about the applicability of policies and laws with regard to email;
  • email services are used in compliance with those policies and laws;
  • users of email services are informed about how concepts of privacy and security apply to email; and,
  • disruptions to University email and other services and activities are minimised.

1.3 Policy scope

This policy applies to all email services provided by the University and to all users and uses of such services; and to all University records in the form of email in the possession of University employees or other users of email services provided by the University.

This policy covers the use of email as a mechanism for general communications within the University. Faculties and Divisions are able to supplement the general policy to accommodate specific needs in accordance with paragraph 6 below.

1.4 Definitions

Email services: Information technologies used to create, send, forward, receive, store, or print email.

University record (in the form of email): Any email that is in support of University business, whether or not the equipment, software, or facilities used to create, or store the email record are owned by the University.

Use of email services: To create, send, forward, reply, copy, store, print, or possess email messages. For the purpose of this policy, receipt of email is excluded from this definition to the extent that the email user does not have control over the email received.

Email address/email account: The officially recognised UTS email address as allocated by ITD on enrolling as a student or joining UTS as staff.

2. Use of email services

2.1 Overview

University email services are University facilities and are intended for use in support of the University's mission.

2.2 Purpose of email services

2.2.1 The University provides an email account to every staff member and student of the University for the purposes of teaching and learning, research, administration and community service.

2.2.2 The University permits this account to be used for limited incidental personal purposes. However, it is most concerned to ensure that the account is used as effectively as possible in support of the above purposes and to facilitate the work of the University. A University email account may not be used for engaging in non-UTS business or for personal gain, except if permitted by other University policies.

2.2.3 The email address supplied by the university is considered to be the official email contact point for University staff and students, and official University email correspondence will be delivered to this address. The University will specify, from time to time, the types of communication (both sent and received) that may be made principally or exclusively by email to and from members of staff and students, and the conditions that will need to be met if such an email is to be relied on by the University or the member of staff or student as an adequate or sufficient communication.

2.2.4 Email accounts may also be used for the submission and return of student assignments and other specific uses, but only where the relevant Faculty or Unit has specifically authorised this, and where the guidelines and conditions for such submission/return, which have been specified by that Faculty or Unit, have been fully complied with.

2.3 Regular accessing of emails

It is important for members of staff and students to access and read email messages sent to their UTS email account on a timely basis, and they will be presumed to do so for the purposes of the types of emails specified in paragraph 2.2.3 above.

2.4 Broadcast emails

The use of broadcast emails from the University will be kept to a minimum level and will only be used for purposes of official University business.

2.5 University property

2.5.1 University email services are University facilities; all University email addresses are owned by the University; and all email which is in support of University business, whether or not the equipment, software, or facilities used to create or store the email record are owned by the University, are University records.

2.5.2 The University reserves the right to install and operate filtering equipment, software or procedures to prevent the entry into UTS of email traffic that is contrary to law or which is incompatible with the objectives of the University.

2.6 University records

2.6.1 Email, whether or not created or stored on University-owned equipment, may constitute a University record subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information laws or as a result of litigation, and as such it must be properly retained for record management purposes. 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.

2.6.2 Emails that are sent or received using a non-UTS address but which relate to official UTS business constitute official UTS records. In these cases, normal record keeping requirements must be observed.

2.6.3 The University provides an online directory service of all staff email addresses to facilitate communication between members of University staff on the one hand, and between University staff and students on the other. This directory is accessible to the general public. As the email addresses it provides are University email addresses, this is consistent with the requirements of the Privacy law (Privacy Act 1988). An opt-out procedure will be available to a staff member who believes they have a good reason not to have their University email address included in the directory.

2.7 Student records

A student's email address forms part of a student's record. The University will provide relevant staff members with student email addresses to facilitate communication on matters of University business. As is the case with other aspects of a student's records, student email addresses will only be available for use by appropriate University staff members for official University purposes.

2.8 Service restriction

Use of University email services is a privilege that may be restricted by the University, without the prior consent of the user of such services, as provided in paragraph 4.3. The University reserves the right, through the Vice-Chancellor or person expressly authorised by the Vice-Chancellor, to designate those categories of user to whom it will provide access to email and may revoke access at any time to persons who misuse the services. The Guidelines for Use of Email will specify the grounds and procedures for denial or revocation of access.

2.9 Storing and viewing of mail

In accepting access to email services, users consent to their email being stored and viewed when necessary as provided in paragraph 4.3 of this policy.

2.10 Responsible use

Email services must be used in accordance with the University's Acceptable Use of Information Technology Facilities Policy.

2.11 Anonymous email

University email users shall not employ a false identity or send email anonymously.

3. Security and confidentiality

3.1 Email owner responsibilities

Users of the University's email services are required to take necessary precautions to protect the confidentiality of email containing personal or confidential information.

3.2 Duties of administrators of email services

To operate its email service, the University has been required to establish procedures to provide for the physical security of email records, data, and programs. Users should be aware that on occasion network and computer operations personnel and system administrators might, during the performance of their duties, inadvertently see the contents of email messages. Except as provided elsewhere in the policy, such personnel are not permitted to do so intentionally or disclose or otherwise use what they have seen.

4. Inspection and monitoring of email

4.1 Privacy

The University respects the privacy of email users. In general it cannot and does not wish to be the arbiter of the contents of email. The University respects academic freedom, free speech, and privacy of information. The University therefore does not permit retrieval, inspection, monitoring, or disclosure of email messages without the prior consent of the addressee of such messages except as provided for in paragraph 3.2 and paragraph 4.3.

4.2 Consent and compliance

The email addressee's consent shall normally be sought by the University prior to any inspection, monitoring or disclosure of University email records, except as provided for in paragraph 3.2 and paragraph 4.3. To comply with this and other University policies, and to enable the University to meet its business and legal obligations, University staff are expected to comply with management requests for copies of email that pertain to the business of the University. In the event of failure to comply with such requests the provisions of paragraph 4.3 apply.

4.3 Inspection of email without consent

The University shall only permit the inspection, monitoring or disclosure of email without the consent of the holder of such email when:

(i) required by and consistent with law;

(ii) the Executive Director (Organisational Support), Registrar or other person specifically authorised by the Vice-Chancellor has substantiated reason to believe that violations of law or designated provisions of University policy have taken place; or

(iii) in exceptional cases, to meet time-dependent, critical operational needs and reasonable attempts to obtain consent have failed.

4.4 Designation and register of provisions of University Policy

The Vice-Chancellor shall designate these provisions of University Policy to which paragraph 4.3(ii) applies. The Registrar shall maintain a Register of the provisions so designated from time to time and shall advise Council at least annually of the contents of the Register.

5. Rule and policy violations

Violations of University rules and policies governing the use of University email 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 rules, policies, guidelines, disciplinary procedures, or collective bargaining agreements, up to and including dismissal and exclusion.

6. Accountability

The Executive Director (Organisational Support) is responsible for ensuring that the Email Policy is observed.

The Head of each Faculty/Unit is responsible for ensuring that all staff and students associated with their area are made aware of the Email Policy. Faculties should issue addendum or Faculty policy where appropriate to clarify or expand on the content of this document while not contravening it. Faculty additions to this document should be forwarded to the Executive Director (Organisational Support) for review and inclusion as part of this policy.

7. Responsibility

The Executive Director (Organisational Support) is the officer responsible for the control and administration of the Email Policy.

8. Related information

Guidelines for the Use of Email

Acceptable Use of Information Technology Facilities Policy

Information Technology Security Policy

Policy on Management and Protection of Personal Student Information

Records Management Vice-Chancellor's Directive

Code of Conduct

University Rules

Policy on the Prevention of Harassment

Equal Opportunity and Diversity Policy


Further administrative information about this Policy

Policy reviews

  • UTS Email Policy was approved by Council (COU/04/053) at meeting 04/3 on 19 April 2003.
  • UTS Email Policy was amended by Council (COU/04/102) at meeting 04/6 on 16 August 2004. Paragraph 4.3(ii) amended and added paragaph 4.4.
  • The previous policy, Electronic Email Policy (COU/98/69.2.22), was rescinded by Council when the UTS Email Policy was approved.