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5.03.001.004 - Email Utilization and Retention

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Approved: 11/19/2015
Approved By: President's Staff
Category: 5 - FINANCE FACILITIES AND TECHNOLOGY
Section: 03 - COMPUTER AND TECHNICAL RESOURCES
Policy: 001 - Computer and Technical Resources
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College Communications and Email

The College email system is an official means of communication for the Community College of Beaver County. The College will consider faculty, staff, or students to be duly informed and in receipt of notifications and correspondence sent by the College to faculty, staff or student email accounts.

Faculty, staff, and students should frequently access their College assigned email account for official information.  Individuals are responsible for managing their email storage limits so that there is room for new mail to arrive.  The College is not responsible for delivery problems caused by accounts that have exceeded their storage limits.

Retention of Email

The College email system is a delivery system for electronic communication. The automated system cannot discern differences between information of limited or transitory value and that of lasting value.  The server is backed-up daily solely for purposes of disaster recovery. Backup media are retained for a maximum period of three weeks and are overwritten once the retention period has expired.  The email system does not provide nor is it intended to provide the functionality or long-term storage capability required to maintain official records for the College.

Faculty and staff should print copies of important documents and correspondence sent by email to be stored in relevant subject files or save the messages in a stable retrievable electronic format on a long term medium such as a CDR or DVD.  Guidelines and retention plans that provide guidance to determine which documents and correspondence will be retained and for how long are part of College’s records retention policy.

Guidelines for Use of Email

Email has become the primary means of communication in business replacing mail and telephone.   It is an effective and quick means of communications and is an essential tool for accomplishing the College’s day-to-day academic and administrative activities. However the use of email also has drawbacks and is imperfect as a means of communication.  

Email Never Disappears

The process of sending an email may generate multiple copies on multiple computers as it transmitted. Before you click on send consider the following:  

  • Emails may be subject to Pennsylvania Open Records Act.

  • In case of litigation or pending litigation emails are subject to discovery.

  • The security and confidentiality of email cannot be guaranteed; password protections are not foolproof.

  • The contents of forwarded messages can be changed from the original.

  • Recipients are able to forward emails without the originators knowledge or consent.

  • Your college email is subject to discovery.  If you use your personal email for college business, it is also subject to discovery.

Email is a Limited Means of Communication

Email is missing many of the components of normal, face to face, communications such as tone of voice and body language.   Miscommunication can occur due to the lack of these components of communication. In the absence of these:

  • Sarcasm and attempts at humor in your message may be perceived as harassment or as confrontational.

  • Messages may unintentionally be perceived as confrontational or harassment by the recipient based on the way they are formatted or worded.

  • Email can be ambiguous and perceived in multiple ways. Be careful with your wording. 

Email is Written

Spelling mistakes, bad grammar, and incomplete sentences make email messages difficult to read and create a negative impression of the sender. Keep your email brief and focused on the subject.

Email Best Practices

  • Do not send confidential information in emails.

  • Deal with the subject.  Avoid attempts at humor, sarcasm, satire, and other witticisms.

  • Stop and think before you press send.   Will you be able to live with your words tomorrow, next week, or next year?

  • If communication is going wrong stop the email exchange.  Pick up the phone and call, or meet with the person with whom you are communicating.

  • Don’t say anything in an email you won’t say in person.

  • Use your college email for college business. Do not use it for personal business.

  • Do not use your personal email for college business.

  • Carbon copy or blind carbon copy with care. Do not use it is unless it is a necessary part of the communication.

  • Know your audience.

  • Respond to emails directed to you quickly.

  • Respond to carbon copies and blind carbon copies only it is relevant to you.

  • Do not use tag lines (other than electronic business cards), quotes, animations, or personal affirmations. 

Evaluate the Emails You Receive Before Opening Them

Over 80% of the email addressed to CCBC is blocked by the spam filters as either spam, junk or malicious. Some spam, junk or malicious email does get through and may be blocked by either the filter on the Exchange Server or the locally by the Outlook email application. Some do get through.

  • Don’t run any programs that are attached to emails.  They are most likely viruses.  Sometime these programs are embedded in a zip file attached to an email.

  • Never forward chain emails.

  • Do not reply to spam email.

  • Do not open emails from senders that are unknown to you. 

Be Wise in How You Manage Your Email

  • Using an archiving strategy to manage the emails that you need to keep long-term.

  • House-clean regularly by emptying your deled items and sent folders.  

  • Make sure you know what email you are keeping.