What You Need To Know About Email

Keep in mind using email isn't the same as U.S. Mail. Some differences have to do with who owns what:

o All campus email belongs to the UC Regents. "People forget that the email network belongs to the university, so the university and departments have the authority to monitor that system," said Ella Wheaton, staff ombudsperson. "The U.S. Mail has its own kind of views about privacy. But they don't necessarily hold for campus mail and email."

o Anybody using the system should assume that the world may see the message. Once a message gets into a network, it can be copied and have wide distribution.

o This can lead to problems of sexual harassment. "Jokes, porno and so on, somebody can pick them up who you didn't intend to see them and that can be sexual harassment," said Wheaton.

o People should also know that a password is not a private thing for an employee. It's for the use of the university in whatever way the university sees fit.

o For these reasons and many others, said Wheaton, it's been clearly established that email at the university is for business use only. Non-business messages aren't supposed to go out over the network at all.

o Email should never be used to handle personnel actions such as criticism, performance evaluations, warnings or involuntary separations. There is a process for handling these types of issues, said Wheaton, and it isn't email.


Copyright 1995, The Regents of the University of California.
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