The purpose of this policy is to ensure that:
- The University community is informed about the applicability of policies and laws with regard to electronic mail and that electronic mail services are used in compliance with these policies and laws
- Users of electronic mail are informed about confidentiality, privacy, and security applicable to electronic mail
- Disruptions to University electronic mail and other services and activities are minimized
This policy applies to all University staff, faculty, administrators, officers and students (collectively, “users”), including those on the regional campuses and Extended Learning sites.
- West Virginia University electronic mail services are University resources and are intended to be used for teaching, research, service, and administration in support of the University’s mission.
- West Virginia University provides these electronic mail services to students, faculty, staff, and other authorized persons who are affiliated with the University for their use when engaging in activities related to their roles in the University.
- Access to electronic mail is a valuable tool and is a privilege with certain accompanying responsibilities. The same standards of conduct that are expected of students, faculty, and staff regarding the use of other University facilities, services, and resources apply to the use of electronic mail.
University electronic mail services may be used for incidental personal purposes provided that such use:
- Does not directly or indirectly interfere with the University operation of computing facilities or electronic mail services.
- Does not interfere with the electronic mail user’s employment or other obligations to the University.
- Does not violate this Policy, or any other applicable policy or law, including but not limited to use for personal gain, conflict of interest, harassment, defamation, copyright violation or illegal activities (see Misuse below).
- Electronic mail messages arising from such personal use shall, however, be subject to access consistent with this policy or applicable law. Accordingly, such use does not carry with it a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Confidentiality and Security
- The University does not routinely monitor or screen electronic mail. However, the University reserves the right, consistent with this policy and applicable law, to access, review and release all electronic information that is transmitted over or stored in University Systems or facilities, whether or not such information is private in nature, and therefore complete confidentiality or privacy of electronic mail cannot be guaranteed. Confidentiality cannot be guaranteed because of the nature of the medium, the need for authorized staff to maintain electronic mail systems, and the University’s accountability as a public institution, as well as in instances involving the health or safety of people or property; violations of University codes of conduct, regulations, policies, or law; other legal responsibilities or obligations of the University; or the locating of information required for University business.
- Terminating employees will have their email accounts terminated on the last day of employment. Terminating employees need to be advised that their email accounts may be accessed by their departmental directors in order to continue to conduct University operations after their departure. Departmental Deans or Directors must send a written request to the Service Desk requesting access to the account. The Service Desk will reset the email account password and supply a new password. The department will then have 30 calendar days to either forward or copy the work-related email out of the account. After 30 days the account will be disabled and eventually deleted. All personal email correspondence must be deleted prior to leaving the University.
- Users should exercise extreme caution in using email to communicate confidential or sensitive matters, and should not assume that their electronic mail is private or confidential.
- Users may not access, use, or disclose personal or confidential information without appropriate authorization, and must take necessary precautions to protect confidentiality of personal or confidential information in compliance with University policy and applicable law, regardless of whether the information is maintained on paper or whether it is found in electronic mail or other electronic records.
- Electronic mail users and operators must follow sound professional practices in providing for the security of electronic mail records, data, applications programs, and systems programs under their jurisdiction.
- Users are responsible for safeguarding their identification (ID) codes and passwords, and for using them only as authorized. Each user is responsible for all electronic mail transactions made under the authorization of his or her ID, and for all network electronic mail activity originating from his or her data jack.
- Using electronic mail for illegal activities is strictly prohibited. Illegal use may include, but is not limited to: obscenity; child pornography; threats; harassment; theft; attempting unauthorized access to data or attempting to breach any security measures on any electronic communications system; attempting to intercept any electronic communication transmissions without proper authority; and violation of copyright, trademark or defamation law.
- In addition to illegal activities, the following electronic mail practices are expressly prohibited: entry, examination, use, transfer, and tampering with the accounts and files of others, unless appropriately authorized pursuant to this policy; altering electronic mail system software or hardware configurations; or interfering with the work of others or with University or other computing facilities.
- University electronic mail services may not be used for: commercial activities, personal financial gain or advancement of political agenda.
- Electronic mail users shall not give the impression that they are representing, giving opinions, or otherwise making statements of behalf of the University or any unit of the University unless expressly authorized to do so. Where appropriate, the following explicit disclaimer shall be included: “The opinions or statements expressed herein are my own and should not be taken as a position, opinion, or endorsement of West Virginia University.”
- University email services shall not be used for purposes that could reasonably be expected to cause, (directly or indirectly) strain on any computing facilities, or interference with others’ use of electronic mail or electronic mail systems. Such uses include, but are not limited to, the use of electronic mail services to:
- Send or forward chain letters.
- “Spam”, that is, to exploit listservs or similar systems for the widespread distribution of unsolicited mail.
- “Letter-bomb”, that is, to resend the same e-mail repeatedly to one or more recipients.
- Knowingly send or transmit computer viruses
Application Of Other Policies
All other University policies are also applicable to the electronic environment. Relevant institutional policies include, but are not limited to:
- Board of Governor Policies
- Faculty Handbook
- Appropriate Use of Information Technology Resources
- Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities (Code of Conduct)
- Division of Administration, Finance, and Human Resources Policies
- WV Higher Education Policy Commission Rules and Policies
- Sexual Harassment Policy
- Use of University name or Trademarks
- West Virginia State Laws
- West Virginia Computer Crime and Abuse Act
- West Virginia Electronic Mail Protection Act
- West Virginia Governmental Ethics Act
Suspected or known violations of policy or law should be reported to the appropriate supervisory level for the operational unit in which the violation occurs. Violations will be processed by the appropriate University authorities and/or law enforcement agencies. Violations may result in various actions, including but not limited to revocation of electronic mail service privileges; academic dishonesty or Code of Conduct proceedings; faculty, staff or student disciplinary action up to and including dismissal; referral to law enforcement agencies; or other legal action.
The Office of Information Technology adheres to the following procedure to process policy violations, which may include Virus infections, email spam violations, copyright infringements, appropriate use violations, or any other OIT policy violations.
Electronic Mail Systems
Faculty and Staff email system – Novell GroupWise
All full time faculty and staff are eligible to receive a GroupWise electronic mail account. Students who work for a University department and need a GroupWise electronic mail account to complete their job for an appointment other than work study may also request an account (subject to approval). Once an account is created, it will not be changed without documentation of an official name change for an individual.
All non person email accounts will be created as resource accounts within GroupWise. A non person account is an email account that does not use a specific person’s name for identification; an example of this is an account for a department, a small group of people, or a project. An account owner, the person who will be responsible for the account, must be identified for each resource account. This account owner must be a full time employee of WVU and cannot be another resource account. Names for resource accounts must be as descriptive as possible and will be reviewed by OIT before the account will be created.
The format for electronic mail usernames consists of combining the users first initial, middle initial, and last name (ex: JTSmith). If this creates a duplicate username, the next letter of the first name is added in place of the middle initial until a unique username is found (ex: JOSmith). Users can request that an alternative first name be used in place of their official first name. This is subject to approval. There are two options for the format of an electronic mail address:
- First.Last@mail.wvu.edu (ex: John.Smith@mail.wvu.edu) – default option
- Username@mail.wvu.edu (ex:firstname.lastname@example.org)
GroupWise accounts may be disabled/deleted for any of the following reasons:
Accounts will be disabled when an employee leaves the university. OIT is notified when a person is leaving via a web form that is filled out by the EBO of the appropriate department which indicates the employee’s last day of employment.
Faculty Emeritus can request that their account remains active after they retire.
Accounts may also be temporarily disabled at the request of Human Resources due to medical or catastrophic leave of an employee. The request to enable those accounts must come from Human Resources.
Disabled accounts cannot send or receive mail and the user cannot log into the account. A disabled account can be enabled until it has been deleted. Disabled accounts will be deleted no later than one year after being disabled.
Accounts may be terminated at any time for:
- Anything that may potentially reflect negatively upon West Virginia University. This may include but is not limited to: usage in conjunction with a commercial web site and/or business, or communications for a personal business.
- Threatening another individual
- Other violations of this policy as listed above under Misuse.
Email within an active mailbox is stored on the GroupWise system for all users. Retention of email for an active account is managed as detailed below.
- Each account has a mailbox size of 500 MB. This is for storage of email and related attachments.
- Messages will be automatically archived when they reach 180 days old. These messages will be archived to the location specified by the user within their GroupWise client
- Messages will be automatically deleted from the system when they reach 240 days old. Note that this does not affect any messages that have already been archived.
- Messages moved to the Trash folder will be automatically deleted after 7 days.
Resource accounts and any other account that is only accessed using the proxy feature will not automatically archive mail. Mail will be automatically deleted from these accounts. It is the responsibility of the owner of each account to manually archive any mail that needs to be kept past the 240 days.
Warning messages will be sent by the system to an account when it reaches 80% of its capacity. A mailbox that is over quota will still receive mail but will not be able to send mail.
Daily backups of the GroupWise system are performed each night and are maintained for seven days. Requests for restoration of mail outside the seven day period can not be completed.
Maintenance on the GroupWise system will occur every Wednesday evening from 7:00 pm until midnight. Services are not guaranteed during this time period. If additional scheduled maintenance is needed, notification will be sent to all affected units alerting them to the outage.
Requests for exceptions to this policy must be made in writing to the CIO and approval could include a fee charged back to the department for the enhanced service.
Student email system – Mountaineer Information Xpress (MIX)
All students have an account on the MIX system. All accounts are automatically created by the STAR system. Accounts for students are created once they have been admitted to WVU.
Faculty identified in STAR have accounts on the MIX system. This is to provide communication for courses. GroupWise is the official email system for faculty. Accounts for faculty are created when they are identified as faculty in STAR.
The format for all usernames consists of combing the user’s first initial and the last name up to a total of eight characters. If this creates a duplicate, the last letter is dropped and a number added and incremented until a unique combination is found. Email addresses all follow the format of email@example.com.
MIX accounts will remain active for a minimum of six months after a matriculated student has left WVU.
Email for all active users is stored on the MIX system. Mail retention for active accounts is managed as detailed below.
- Student and faculty accounts have a quota of 500 MB.
- Once an account has been marked for deletion, it will no longer receive mail.
- Messages moved to the Deleted folder will be automatically deleted after 7 days.
- Once a month during system maintenance, mail stored in the InBox will automatically be deleted once it reaches 365 days old. Mail in individual folders is not removed by this process.
- A warning message is no longer sent to the account when the account reaches its quota. Instead, users have a bar graph above the folder listing. The graph shows how much space is being used.
Maintenance on the MIX system will occur every Saturday starting at midnight and ending no later than Sunday at noon. Services are not guaranteed during this time period.
Electronic mail systems support and maintenance requires the coordination of several Office of Information Technology units:
- All official email systems are located in an OIT Data Center.
- Networking Services provides system maintenance and support for the GroupWise system.
- Support Services coordinates account creation, and provides end user support and troubleshooting and training and serves on email committees on behalf of the user.
- Information Systems provides systems support for Mountaineer Information Xpress (MIX) and the virus and spam scanners. They also maintain the OIT Data Center.
The Associate Provost for Information Technology (CIO) is the policy administrator for information technology resources and will ensure this process is followed. Additionally, Deans, Directors and Department Heads are responsible for compliance with University policy within their respective administrative areas.
Exceptions to IT Standards will be considered using the IT Standard Exception Procedure.
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Questions or Problems
Questions, concerns or additional information about this and any OIT policy should be directed to the CIO office at OIT_Admin@mail.wvu.edu.
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Policy Last Updated: October 15, 2004
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