Email Distribution and Discussion Lists & Etiquette Guidelines

PLEASE NOTE: This policy is published as binding draft while under campus review. If you would like to submit feedback on the draft policy and related documents, please use the feedback form.

This document outlines campus guidelines for email distribution and discussion lists, mailing list tips and email etiquette. These guidelines apply to official and unofficial lists maintained by CITS, departments and/or individuals.

All email lists must have a faculty or staff member named as the owner of the list.

In addition to the guidelines below, all email lists must follow the Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources Policy and Information Security Policy.

1. Official All-Campus Lists

Official all-campus lists are derived directly from the Human Resources and Student Administration databases. Examples include “all faculty", "all staff", "all students", "all graduate students”, "all undergraduates" and lists by “class year.”

The Office of the Chancellor, Public Affairs, Public Safety, Student Affairs, Provost Office, Human Resources, Campus Facilities, and each of the Vice Chancellors, Associate Vice Chancellors, Assistant Vice Chancellors, and Faculty leadership may send emails to the all-campus lists, e.g. all students, all faculty, all administrators, all staff.

The owner of an account can send to the list or may designate another staff member for access. Designated staff may also approve requests and send messages.

Messages to be sent to all-inclusive groups must be submitted to the owner or designee for review. If the message does not violate the campus responsible use policy, including the Student Code of Conduct, the message will not be altered or censored.

2. Official User-Owned Lists

Official user-owned lists are used by an individual to address a smaller segment of the campus community. These lists are established for use by a particular administrative or academic organizational unit. Faculty, staff and Union leadership may also originate such lists for administrative use.

Membership on the list must be limited to those who have a "reporting" relationship with the owner (e.g., Chair of the Physics Department may have lists of departmental faculty, majors, etc.).

The owner of the list must be a member of the list and is responsible for monitoring appropriate use.

The owner of the list may designate additional staff to have access to the list. Designee names/access must be requested by the list owner with CITS Access Management.

3. Official-Owned “Discussion” Lists

Official-owned “discussion” lists are intended for a smaller segment of the community with a common interest. They differ from distribution lists as they are available for all subscribed members to post messages.

They are designated "official" in that their use must be clearly related to administrative or academic activities.

Discussion lists must be established, owned, and moderated by a faculty or staff member for use in his/her official capacity (e.g., a course, committee, law school).

4. Unofficial User-Owned Lists

Unofficial User-Owned Lists are generally established to support campus activities that are not driven through administrative or academic channels, e.g., the Ski Club. These lists may be established by faculty, staff, or students – with student government and Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs sponsorship.

The owner must take responsibility for maintaining the list and monitoring for proper use.

5. Mailing List Tips

These tips will assist in the effective use of electronic University communications:

  • The Mailman mailing list program does not allow the use of the BCC field
    as this is commonly used by spammers.
  • Refrain from including a large number of addresses in the TO and CC fields
    as this exposes these addresses to all members of the list.
  • Whenever possible, send a link to a web page containing information, images,
    forms, PDF’s, etc. in lieu of an attachment.
  • As mailbox storage and backup is costly, use small attachments as they process faster
    and consume less mailbox quota when delivered to a wide campus audience.
  • If you have subscription management rights, periodically review membership
    and unsubscribe addresses when appropriate.
  • If you have a list created by CITS and no longer have a need for it,
    notify CITS at 508.999.8900 or submit a case using the IT Help form

6. Email Etiquette

These guidelines will assist in the professional use of electronic University communications:

  • Be clear and concise.
  • Be punctual and respond in a timely manner.
  • Use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Use descriptive subject lines.
  • Use a concise signature line with your contact information similar to a business card.
  • Be friendly and never write anything you would not say to someone directly.
  • Do NOT WRITE IN ALL CAPITALS. This is perceived as SHOUTING.
  • Avoid sending large size file attachments.
  • Do not discuss confidential information.
  • Never send usernames/passwords, credit card, personal identifying information (of yourself or others) or other account information.

7. New Communication Media

These guidelines extend to modern marketing and communication tools such as Salesforce, TargetX, Rave (myAlert), Constant Contact, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams where groups of users are created, managed, and communicated with through email, text messages, or social media platforms.

8. Related Policies

9. Acknowledgements

  • UMass Amherst granted permission to UMass Dartmouth to use the Amherst policy as a basis for the UMass Dartmouth Email Distribution and Discussion List Guidelines.
  • "Welcome to the Purdue OWL." Purdue OWL: Email Etiquette. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2014. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/636/01/
  • "Email Etiquette." Rules for Effective Email Replies. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2014. http://www.emailreplies.com/index.html#rules

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