This policy applies to all individuals who use or handle any College computer networks, systems, applications, or data (regardless of its media or form) to send mass digital (defined to include email and text) communications to large segments of the college community. This policy sets forth guidelines and procedures for the appropriate use of mass digital communications that may be transmitted to Ithaca College students, faculty, staff, and their families, as well as to recognized affiliates and other third parties who may receive services or direct communications from Ithaca College.
Mass digital communications using Ithaca College networks, addresses, databases, and/or technological devices may only be issued when approved by the appropriate college officer, or as otherwise provided for in this policy. Mass digital communications will be authorized sparingly and only when a time-sensitive need-to-know is deemed to warrant their use.
The college will use appropriate emergency communication methods to share information for urgent and time-critical health and safety information.
College Officer: For the purposes of this policy, those persons with the following titles: President, Provost, Senior Vice President, Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, and Chief Information Officer.
Mass Digital Communications: For the purposes of this policy, includes all messages sent, unsolicited, to large segments of the college population using email, text messaging, or voice telephony; does not include digital signage.
Many academic and administrative entities on campus are interested in using email and other digital communication services, such as text messaging, in sending important but unsolicited messages to large segments of the college community: for example, to all students, all faculty, all staff, or to some combination of these large segments. Most messages intended for the campus community are best communicated by Ithaca College Intercom, the college calendar on the Web and other official Web pages, and printed materials, such as flyers. These methods continue to be preferred means of mass communication rather than mass electronic mailings or text alerts.
Ithaca College has made the Rave/Guardian IC (Ithaca College) Alert service available to instantly reach students, faculty, and staff in cases of major or catastrophic emergencies. All individuals (students, faculty, staff) are automatically enrolled in receiving emailed IC Alerts through their Ithaca College email address. All Ithaca College employees, students, and on-campus affiliates are required to provide the college with, and regularly update, a valid mobile phone number for use by the ENS. Additional phone numbers and email addresses can be added to each user’s unique RAVE profile at their own discretion.
Except with regard to emergency notifications, mass emailing and text alerts must be approved by an appropriate college officer. The approving college officer will consider the criteria stated in these guidelines to evaluate the request.
Requests for the mass email should be directed to the appropriate college officer(s) as follows:
- The Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Life (or designee)in the case of emails directed solely to current students or to the parents of current students.
- The Associate Provost for Graduate and Professional Studies (or designee) in the case of email directed solely to graduate students.
- The Provost (or designee) in the case of emails directed solely to faculty members or for messages to students of a strictly academic nature.
- The Associate Vice President for Human Resources (or designee) in the case of emails directed solely to staff members.
- The President (or designee) in the case of email directed to any combination of all students, faculty, and/or staff.
- The Chief Information Officer (or designee), in the case of notifications related to cybersecurity and technology infrastructure.
If the request is approved, the college officer granting approval will send the mass email distributed to the appropriate recipient group. For those messages not deemed appropriate for mass distribution, the requester will receive a message indicating this.
For non-emergency notifications, a lead time of at least two working days is required for any mass emailing since several hours may be required to set up a mass email.
In an emergency, the approval requirements outlined above will be suspended. In accordance with the college’s Emergency Communications Plan, CERT (College Emergency Response Team), the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management, and College Communications will have the authority to approve mass email notification and text alert requests in a campus emergency, as well as to provide timely notice of crime risks to the campus community.
Appropriate broadcast topics may include, but are not limited to:
- Emergency notifications, including but not limited to urgent physical or technological security matters, such as bomb or terrorist threats, computer system threats, natural disaster alerts, or other issues that have the possibility of impacting the large-scale health and safety of campus community members.
- Campus-wide communications that are time-critical, such as a new immunization requirement or other legal requirements that must be met for continued matriculation at the college.
- Time-critical financial and administrative deadlines, including but not limited to course registration, financial aid deadlines, staff benefits registrations, residential life operational information, etc.)
- Interruption of critical services or access to facilities.
- Other administrative announcements that are time-critical.
- Surveys of campus community members that have received approval from the Analytics and Institutional Research office and/or from a college officer in accordance with “Approval for Mass Emails”, above.
- Important college business as designed by the Office of the President and College Communications – including but not limited to Board of Trustees updates, college-wide meetings, or constituent-wide meetings.
- Intercom round-up, generated automatically as a summary of Intercom notices.
Inappropriate broadcast topics may include, but are not limited to:
- Any content that is irrelevant to Ithaca College’s teaching, research, and public service mission.
- The announcement of events (except for campus-wide events like an all-college meeting, all-staff or faculty meeting, or other large meetings designed to share significant and timely information with a large audience)
- Sign-up information for Student Organizations, Clubs, or other recognized or unrecognized groups
- Any commercial mailings or communications
- Any solicitation except as approved by the President for college purposes.
- Personal messages of interest to only a small segment of the College community, jokes, and chain letters, pyramid schemes, etc.
Campus email systems and email addresses are provided and intended to be used primarily for college purposes. Ithaca College strives to send only unsolicited messages that provide important or useful content to Ithaca College community members.
- Email subject: The subject line must be meaningfully descriptive.
- Email Body:
- The initial text of the message should indicate that it is a broadcast message, and the office that is sending the message.
- The message body should indicate why the message is being sent and to whom (which groups) the message is being sent.
- There should be a “reply to” email address that is monitored for responses.
- Attachments, such as Microsoft Word documents, are not allowed.
- Messages should be reasonably brief and to the point, and provide instructions on how additional information can be obtained.
- Any hyperlinks should include the fully qualified protocol (including the https:// part) to assure that most recipients will see “active” links in your message.
- The message must be approved by the department head of the individual sending the request and should be proofread for spelling, grammatical and content errors.
- A notice that the mass emailing has been approved by the appropriate college officer must be included. (See the “Approvals for Mass Emails” section above for the list of appropriate college officers.)
- Accessibility: The email should follow best practices for accessible communications.
- Images should have alternative text added
- If an image contains dates, times, and places for an event, those details should also be provided in the body of the email.
- Use appropriate contrast for font color and backgrounds (See contrast checker guide)
- For additional information, review accessibility resources from Harvard University and Ability.net
The Vice President for Marketing and Communications or designee will periodically review and update this policy as needed. Questions concerning this policy should be directed to the Vice President of Marketing and Communications.
Violations of this policy may result in revocation of individuals’ mass communication privileges in addition to appropriate disciplinary measures in accordance with college policies, up to and including termination or expulsion. Additional penalties or sanctions may also apply under applicable state and federal laws.
Last Updated: September 12, 2023