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RSCC Policy GA-18-05; Use of Email as Official Correspondence

RSCC Policy GA-18-05; Use of Email as Official Correspondence

Roane State Community College
Policy Number: GA-18-05
Subject: Use of Email as Official Correspondence
  1. Scope
    For the purpose of this policy, only official correspondence is covered.
  2. Definitions
    Email generally falls into four categories, official correspondence, unofficial business related, personal and SPAM.
    1. Official Correspondence – Official email correspondence at Roane State Community College is defined as communication sent or received by Roane State personnel in the execution of the duties of their office. For the purposes of this definition, office will include academic and administrative departments, divisions, advisory committees and any other body appointed to carry out college business. Included are messages that document decisions, policies, procedures, resource expenditures, operations or delivery of services. The following are examples of official correspondence:
      1. General correspondence regarding management, financial, operating procedures, or policy matters (including items such as purchase orders)
      2. Interoffice messages regarding management, financial, operating procedures, or policy matters (including items such as timesheets, financial aid and travel vouchers)
      3. Messages regarding college policy or the policy process (minutes of meetings, transcripts of hearings, etc.)
      4. Messages regarding vital public information (for example, critical environmental data, campus closings and reports)
      5. Invitations and responses to work related meetings
      6. Listserv messages posted in an official capacity (job announcements, etc.)
      7. Listserv messages that are relied upon in the development of management, financial, operating procedures, or policy matters
    2. Unofficial Business Related – Email messages may have an official context but not be part of a business transaction. The following examples illustrate email with an official context but not official correspondence:
      1. General department correspondence regarding routine business activities (transmittal messages and responses to routine questions)
      2. Interoffice messages regarding employee activities (holiday events, etc.), phone calls, invitations and responses to work related events
      3. Listserv messages other than those posted in an official capacity unless the messages are relied upon in the development of management, financial, operating procedures, or policy matters
    3. Personal – Any email message that is neither created nor received in the course of routine or official college business.
    4. SPAM – Any unsolicited email that is commercial in nature.
      Excluded from this definition are published materials collected as reference material to support teaching programs of Roane State. Documents produced by college employees in a private capacity are also excluded. These include teaching materials, research materials and professional records of individual academic staff members or groups of such committees or administrative units as formally designated by the committee or unit. “Profession records” mean those records which pertain to professional associations or societies and correspondence generated as a result of an academic staff member’s obligation to the profession at large.

      Faculty correspondences with individual students or class units are also excluded. However, students are responsible for responding to faculty email.
  3. Policy - Faculty and Staff
    1. RSCC Email Accounts Required
      All Roane State Community College employees will have a college email address, and all official electronic correspondence will be via that address. See Electronic Information Systems (Email) Policy, GA-18-03, for how to obtain an email address and use of the college email system.
    2. Redirecting of email
      Employees who redirect their official address to another email address (e.g.,,, or an address on a departmental server) do so at their own risk. The college is not responsible for the handling of email by outside vendors. Redirecting college email to a personal account does not absolve employees from the responsibilities associated with official communication sent to his or her account. Only college email accounts will be maintained, the college has no responsibility for keeping up with personal staff or faculty email accounts.
  4. Policy - Students
    1. College use of email
      Email is a mechanism for official communication within Roane State Community College. The college has the right to expect that such communications will be received and read in a timely fashion. Official email communications are intended only to meet the academic and administrative needs of the campus community. As steward of this process, the Information Technology Department in coordination with Student Services is responsible for directing the use of the official student email.
    2. Microsoft Exchange, Active Directory and Expectations about student use of email
      Microsoft Exchange is the official email server for students. Students are expected to check their email on a frequent and consistent basis in order to stay current with college-related communications. Students have the responsibility to recognize that certain communications may be time-critical. "I didn't check my email", error in forwarding mail, or email returned to the college with "Mailbox Full" or "User Unknown" are not acceptable excuses for missing official college communications via email.
    3. Assignment of student email
      Official college email accounts are automatically created for all enrolled students. The addresses are of the form last name, first name initial, middle name initial In case of duplicate names, a number will be appended to the name to prevent confusion. Email accounts will be accessed through RaiderNet. Students will be required to change passwords upon initial login. The official email address will be maintained in the Banner Student system and Roane State’s Active Directory. Official email addresses will be directory (public) information unless the students request otherwise.
    4. Redirecting of email
      Student email may be redirected from their official address to another email address (e.g.,,, or an address on a departmental server). The college will not be responsible for the handling of email by outside vendors. Having email redirected does not absolve a student from the responsibilities associated with official communication sent to his or her account.
    5. Authentication for confidential information
      It is a violation of college policies, including the Student Code of Conduct, for any user of official email addresses to impersonate a college office, faculty/staff member, or student. Confidential information will not be available in email messages. Rules for use of Roane State Community College email and computer equipment are found in Roane State policies, Electronic Information Systems (Email) Policy, GA-18-03 and Ethical and Responsible Use of Computer Resources, GA-18-01.
    6. Privacy
      Users should exercise extreme caution in using email to communicate confidential or sensitive matters, and should not assume that email is private and confidential. It is especially important that users are careful to send messages only to the intended recipient(s). Particular care should be taken when using the "reply" command during email correspondence.
    7. Educational uses of email
      Faculty will determine how electronic forms of communication (e.g., email) will be used in their classes, and will specify their requirements in the course syllabus. This "Official Student Email Policy" will ensure that all students will be able to comply with email-based course requirements specified by faculty. Faculty can therefore make the assumption that students' official accounts are being accessed and faculty can use email for their classes accordingly.
    8. Momentum Students
      Momentum students participating in online courses, especially TN eCampus students, may or may not have a Roane State Community College email address. For Momentum students not enrolled at RSCC, communication with faculty will take place using the internal “messaging” function of Momentum. For enrolled Roane State students using Momentum, even though Momentum “messaging” may be your primary communication method with your instructor, it is not your official email address and you must periodically check your RaiderNet account so that important announcements are not missed.

Revision History: 02/09/2009
Revision Date Effective: 02/01/2016
Revision Approval By: Christopher L. Whaley, President
Original Date Effective: 02/16/2004
Original Approval By: Wade B. McCamey, President
Office Responsible: Vice President for Business & Finance
Reviewed: 02/01/2016

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