IRM-006: Mass Electronic Mailings

Date: 06/15/2006 Status: Final
Last Revised: 10/12/2017
Policy Type: University
Oversight Executive: President of the University
Applies To: All University of Virginia Academic Division faculty, staff, enrolled students, and others assigned University email accounts. (The Medical Center’s “Electronic Mail Policy No. 0193” applies to Medical Center employees; The College at Wise’s “Appropriate Use of College Listserves” Policy applies to College at Wise employees and students.)
Table of Contents:

Policy Statement

Reason for Policy:

Electronic Mailings (email) can be a powerful and efficient tool with which to communicate. Email can also be seen as an unwanted intrusion if not used in a careful and coordinated way. To foster the judicious use of University electronic mailing capabilities, such that mailings to large numbers of individuals or groups either within or outside the University are essential and relevant to the mission of the University and do not adversely affect normal performance of the University’s email delivery system.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Advancement Activities:

    Contacts with University Constituencies for the purpose of advancing a Constituent's level of engagement with the University or its programs.

  • Mass Electronic Mailing:

    Either (1) a single electronic mailing received by 1,000 or more email addresses; or (2) multiple electronic mailings of the same content received by a total of 1,000 or more email addresses.

Policy Statement:

Mailings Must Be Mission-related – Mass electronic mailings sent by faculty, staff, enrolled students and others assigned University email accounts using University-owned or contracted resources to individuals or groups within or outside the University must be related to the University’s mission.

Certain Mailings Must Be Approved – Mass electronic mailings to certain large population segments must have executive-level approval in advance of issuance. Specifically,

  • The President, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, or their designee(s) must approve electronic mailings to the entire University of Virginia community, i.e., all email account holders (faculty, staff, students and others assigned University email accounts). Such mailings generally should be reserved for major announcements and critical health and safety notices.

  • The Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer or designee(s) must approve electronic mailings to all staff or all faculty and staff.

  • The Vice President & Provost or designee(s) must approve electronic mailings to all faculty.

  • The Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer or designee(s) must approve electronic mailings to all students, all graduate students, all undergraduate students or parents of all enrolled students.

  • Deans or their designee(s) must approve electronic mailings to all faculty or students within a school.

Mailings Must Comply With Laws and Policies – Mass electronic mailings must comply with relevant federal and state laws, as well as University policies, including those governing public computing resources, security considerations, and ethics in computing. See the Related Information section for key law and policy references.

Advancement Activities-related Mailings Have Additional Requirements – Note that all electronic mailings (mass or otherwise) for the purpose of advancement activities to alumni, parents of alumni, parents of enrolled students, friends of the University and current or prospective donors are additionally subject to policy IRM-007, Electronic Mailings for Advancement Activities.


See Procedure for Mass Electronic Mailings for guidance on developing and distributing mass electronic mailings processed through the University’s electronic mail system.

Related Information:

Medical Center Policy No 0193, Electronic Mail (E-mail)
Wise "Appropriate Use of College Listserves" Policy (memorandum distributed to the Chancellor Prior and Vice-Chancellors on 2/24/2005 by the Director of Technology & CIO)
Ethics in Computer Usage Policy
Responsible Computing Handbook for Faculty and Staff  
Responsible Computing Handbook for Students
Commonwealth of Virginia Code Section 18.2-152.3:1 Transmission of unsolicited bulk electronic mail (spam); penalty
CAN-SPAM Act of 2003

Policy Background:

Initial policy approved by President’s Cabinet 1/9/1998.

Major Category: Information Resource Management
Next Scheduled Review: 05/19/2017
Approved by, Date: Policy Review Committee, 06/15/2006
Revision History: Updated 10/12/17 (Contact Ofc & Oversight Exec); 5/19/14, 8/30/07.
Supersedes (previous policy):
University Policy on Using Electronic Communications for Large-scale Notifications and Distribution of Information.