3.0 Electronic Mail


3.1 Identification of Sender
3.2 Privacy of E-mail
3.3 Rights of others
3.4 E-mail as a method of mass communications
3.5 Loss of Privileges

The college provides access to electronic mail free of charge to all Cornell faculty, staff, and students. Employee e-mail accounts are primarily for business use. In order to use e-mail, you must have a network login name and password. E-mail addresses are listed in the Cornell Campus Directory. For additional details on how to set up and use e-mail accounts, look at E-mail at Cornell.

3.1 Identification of Sender
Sending electronic mail that does not correctly identify the sender is unethical. Do not disguise or attempt to disguise the identity of the sender or the identity of the system you are using.

3.2 Privacy of e-mail Federal law prohibits certain unauthorized interceptions of e-mail messages and telephone conversations. The Electronic Communications and Privacy Act also prohibits access to and disclosure of electronically stored communications. Violators may be subject to criminal and civil penalties. However, the law permits the interception of and access to electronic communication where one party gives consent. The law also permits an employee or agent of a system provider to intercept and access electronic communication necessary to protect the rights or property of the provider of the service. This is a summary of the law and should not be relied upon as a complete statement of the law.

Federal law also prohibits certain activity commonly known as "hacking." The Federal criminal code prohibits intentionally accessing a computer used in interstate communication without authorization or exceeding authorized access if one of the following also occurs:
a) The hacker obtains information about interstate commerce or communications;
b) The hacker fraudulently obtains anything of value;
c) The hacker transmits a computer virus intending to cause damage; or
d) The hacker causes damage. Punishment for violation of these criminal codes includes fines, imprisonment and civil damages. This is a summary of the law and should not be relied upon as a complete statement of the law.

See also section 2.4.

3.3 Rights of others
Abusive, threatening, or harassing materials are inappropriate, unethical, and possibly illegal.

Efficient use of the network shall be promoted by refraining from engaging in any use that would interfere with the work of others or disrupt the intended use of network resources. This includes avoiding chain letters, unnecessary campus-wide e-mails, and other unwanted materials.

  • In addition to the other restrictions and conditions provided in this policy, except for academic uses you may not use any Cornell College computer property for any of the following:
  • In connection with any infringements of another person's intellectual property rights;
  • In a manner that violates the terms of any applicable telecommunications license or any laws governing transport or data flow;
  • In connection with any attempt to penetrate computer or network security of any system, or to gain unauthorized access or attempted access to any other person's computer, e-mail, or voicemail accounts or equipment;
  • To communicate sexually explicit messages, images, cartoons, or jokes;
  • To repeat communication of unwelcome sexual propositions, unwelcome requests for dates, or unwelcome love letters;
  • To communicate profanity, obscenities, slander, or libel;
  • To communicate ethnic, religious, or racial slurs;
  • To communicate any other message of harassment or
  • disparagement of others based upon sex, race, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability, or religious beliefs; or
  • In connection with the violation or attempted violation of any other law.

For more information on the college's harassment policy, see the student Compass and faculty and staff handbooks.

3.4 E-mail as a method of mass communication
Faculty, staff, and students are expected to remain on campus-wide e-mail lists. Members of the Cornell College community are expected to take an interest in what is going on in the community and all-campus e-mail is an appropriate method for aiding this interest. Announcements, course business, requests for information, distribution of minutes, arrangements for meetings, and other communications sent electronically shall have the same force as similar printed communications and members of the Cornell community are expected to access electronic mail regularly.

3.4.1 Sending all-campus e-mails
Group e-mail messages posted to the community or parts of the community should be about college-sponsored activities that would be of interest to the group as a whole. Personal messages, non-college activities, political/social/religious statements, business opportunities, advertising, etc., should not be posted.

Community members should use "Today@Cornell" and the Cornell Campus e-Newsletter whenever possible instead of sending group e-mail, and group e-mail senders should combine e-mails whenever reasonable instead of sending a series of messages.

Cornell community members that have the appropriate approval and access to send all campus email should:

  1. Use a specific subject line
  2. Keep the message short and concise
  3. Put recipients in blind carbon copy (Bcc) field so replies return only to sender

3.5 Loss of Privileges
Persons found in violation of these guidelines may lose computing privileges and may also be subject to fines, probation, or dismissal from the college.