The general use and misuse of computer systems is covered within the University's Computer Systems Regulations and Staff Code of Conduct. This document provides a framework for "best practice" in the use of email within the University of Waikato.
Email is a forum which could be compared to a conversation. Anything that would not be acceptable in a public arena is not acceptable in email. Similarly, with the ability of messages to be forwarded in whole or part, the sender should be aware that part or parts of a message or messages could be taken out of context and appear inflammatory.
Email should conform to standards as described in the Staff Code of Conduct. In particular, email from University facilities should not be used for:
- the creation, storage or transmission of any objectionable communications
- the creation, storage or transmission of material of a threatening, discriminatory or harassing nature
- continued, unwanted email which the recipient has requested that you do not send
- the creation, storage or transmission of illegal or defamatory material
- the creation, storage or transmission of material that brings the University into disrepute
- the use of impolite terms or language, including offensive or condescending terms
- The sharing or distribution of material in breach of copyright.
The University Management investigates all email complaints and will exercise its discretion in judging reasonable bounds within the above standards for acceptability of email communications.
Users should be aware that email can be a less private form of communication than many people may think. The ease with which messages can be forwarded to other people both inside and outside of the University means that any email (no matter how confidential it was intended to be) has the potential of being read by any number of eyes.
Copies of emails are stored on University archive systems. They are not readily accessible and will generally only be retrieved when dealing with a complaint or a breach of the University's regulations. Email archives may also be used to meet legal requests under the Official Information Act or from the Police.
It is accepted that University email services may be used for personal communications. Limited, occasional or incidental personal use is permitted when such use, in the judgement of the supervisor of the user, does not generate a significant cost to the University.
Personal use must not be of a commercial nature, or for any other form of personal financial gain.
Official mailing lists should be used when a number of people are routinely being emailed. In such cases, this is preferred to the use of personal lists or the bulk mailing of large numbers of people directly.
Mailing lists, as with the email system itself, should not be used illegally or for purposes that breach University Policy (e.g. unsolicited emails, spam, advertising, etc.).
No person may be added to a mailing list without their prior consent unless the mailing list is set up for official University business.
With a few rare exceptions, users must be permitted to remove themselves from mailing lists should they so desire. The exceptions are those lists the University maintains as a means of enabling rapid notification to cohorts of staff.
Each mailing list must have an administrator - someone who accepts responsibility for the management and maintenance of that list and who can be contacted in the event of any problems.
For more information on mailing lists contact the ITS Helpdesk.
The University does not permit the sending of all-staff or all-student emails, other than by authorised staff in specific circumstances, e.g. for general University-wide communications and emergency notifications. There are two main reasons for this. The first is system performance. Such emails have the effect of seriously degrading the performance of the email system, particularly when dealing with exceptions. The second reason is to protect staff and students from spam. Where bulk emails are required, these should be handled by mailing lists that users can choose to subscribe to.
The University provides virus protection software for all university computers. This must be installed and kept up to date. For more details, contact the ITS Helpdesk.
Users must take all reasonable precautions to prevent the receipt and transmission by email of computer viruses. In particular, users must not transmit by email any file attachments which they know to be infected with a virus and must not open any suspicious file attachments from unsolicited or not to be trusted sources without prior consultation with the University's ITS Division. Contact the ITS Helpdesk in the first instance.
Emails relating to University business are often used in place of other written communication. As such, it is important for this information to be available to other University personnel if required. It is advisable to retain copies of important emails that have been either sent or received. These should be filed in a manner that is consistent with your School or Division's filing of paper correspondence.
Commitments made by email do have some legal standing. There have been situations where people have entered into agreements by email, then left the University. Later, the contracting party has come back with a printed email (which could just as easily have been faked) which may or may not bind the University.
Log Your Own Ticket
The University has provided a Self Service tool through which you can log your own tickets (jobs). You can also search for a previously logged ticket to check its status. For urgent jobs you can phone the ITS Service Desk: ext 4008 (838 4008) for support.