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The purpose of this policy is to assure that the Georgia Highlands College electronic mail (e-mail) user community is aware of College policies and laws concerning e-mail services and that these services are used in compliance with these policies and laws. This policy has been developed to ensure a quality e-mail service environment at Georgia Highlands College that furthers the academic distribution of information and service of the institution.  Providing this environment assures resource distribution, network availability, personal privacy, and data integrity.  Achieving these goals requires that every individual in the Georgia Highlands College family cooperate and adhere to these guidelines.

Any electronic mail address or account associated with the College assigned by the college to individuals is the property of The University System of Georgia.  Individuals that use the College’s e-mail systems are expected to do so responsibly, which means to comply with state and federal laws and other policies and procedures of the College.  Individuals of the College who are taking advantage of the free e-mail services are expected to use the system with normal and professional courtesy and conduct.  Access to e-mail services, when provided, is a privilege that may be wholly or partially restricted by the College when there is substantial reason to believe that violations of policy or law have taken place.

Both law and College policy prohibit, in general, the theft or other abuse of computing facilities.  Some prohibitions apply to electronic mail services and include but are not limited to: unauthorized entry, use, transfer, and tampering with the accounts and files of others; interference with the work of others and with other computing facilities.  Under certain circumstances the law contains provisions for felony offenses. Users of electronic mail are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these laws and policies.

Furthermore, no employee shall give their password for any e-mail system to an unauthorized person nor shall they obtain any other individuals password by any unauthorized means whatsoever.  In addition to the above, no Faculty or Staff shall use e-mail for the personal amusement if it (1) directly or indirectly interferes with the College operation of computing facilities or electronic mail services; (2) burdens the College with noticeable incremental cost, or (3) interfere with the individuals employment or other obligations to the College.  Furthermore, no employee shall use the Colleges e-mail systems or services for the purpose of transmitting fraudulent, defamatory, harassing, obscene, or threatening messages, or any other communications that are prohibited by law.

E-mail services are to be provided by the College in support of the teaching, research, and public service mission of the College and administrative functions that support this mission.   Users of the e-mail system or services will be limited to faculty, staff, and students.  Part-time faculty and staff e-mail services will be limited to a generic account that represents the department or division where they are employed.

Employees may use of the College’s e-mail services may be used for incidental personal purposes provided that it does not violates this policy.  Since, e-mail is not a totally secure medium, employees should consider e-mail as an inappropriate vehicle for the transmission of extremely personal and/or confidential information.  The Georgia Open Records Act applies to records stored in computers as well as on paper.  Computer users must also obey laws against private use of state property, divulging confidential educational records, copyright infringement, fraud, slander, libel, harassment and obscenity.

This is a draft policy and is subject to ratification by the President’s Cabinet.  As such, this draft policy is included in this handbook for informational purposes only.

Page last updated: March 10, 2010