Electronic Mail (E-Mail) and Messaging: Roles and Responsibilities

User Responsibilities

  • Report all suspected policy violations to abuse@calpoly.edu as described in reporting policy violations
  • Cal Poly users receiving unsolicited e-mail messages (SPAM) are responsible for notifying the sender to stop. If the sender refuses to comply or does not provide a valid means for users to be removed from their list, the recipient may take civil action against them. The University will not typically act on the employee's behalf to stop unsolicited email messages. For more information, see Cal Poly's SPAM information and management page.
  • Users should be aware that the email they send has performance impacts on both the sending machine, the recipient machines, and any machines the messages pass through.
  • Follow established criteria, guidelines and procedures for sending broadcast (i.e., campuswide) mailings.
  • Take appropriate steps to ensure that they are receiving official campus e-mail.
  • Create and manage aliases/distribution lists for large mailings where appropriate.
  • Visit Mass Email (MustMail) for instructions on how to send e-mail to large numbers of users where appropriate. (This does NOT include broadcast/campuswide e-mails. As noted above, users must follow separate guidelines and procedures for those mailings.)

Reporting Policy Violations

  • Chain letters, mail bombs, and messages with a forged identity - Forward a copy of the message to abuse@calpoly.edu, including full headers where possible. All other forms of forged messages should be recorded and retained using screen capture. For mail bombs, users should maintain copies of several messages and forward one copy only as a sample. Users should retain a copy of any suspect messages on the e-mail server and not delete them from their account.
  • Messages that appear to to be intended to annoy, harass and/or physically threaten the recipient - Forward a copy of the messages with full headers to abuse@calpoly.edu. Keep all copies on the e-mail server for later reference.
  • Unsolicited commercial advertising (i.e., SPAM) originating from a university account or system - Forward a copy of the message with full headers to abuse@calpoly.edu. NOTE: Most SPAM originates off campus, even though it may appear to come from Cal Poly based on the address in the From: line. It is very common for the sender's address and other information to be forged.
  • Official communications by the university to its own users consistent with campus policy should not be reported as SPAM.
  • E-mail from a Cal Poly address that appears to solicit, advocate or promote personal or political gain on behalf of the sender or anyone else, including off-campus sales and services - Forward a copy of the message with full headers to abuse@calpoly.edu.
  • NOTE: The contents of the routing header are important in determining the origin of any message. For more information, learn how to locate full headers. Once you have found the full ARPA headers, you can use this online header analysis tool to determine the originating ISP. Paste the headers into the text box and click the "Check Headers" button. The last IP address listed is usually the originating IP address. Click the "Who Is" button to identify the ISP and their abuse contact information. Forward the message and full headers to abuse@ISP.

Information Technology Services (ITS)

As provider of Cal Poly's central electronic mail and messaging systems, ITS will:

  • Strive to ensure that all e-mail is delivered to the addressee in a timely manner
  • Review, approve and work with departments to send campuswide mass e-mails
  • Strive to create and maintain as secure an e-mail environment as possible
  • Implement and maintain system utilities intended to identify, filter and protect Cal Poly against SPAM, viruses, and other known threats transmitted by e-mail
  • Educate Cal Poly users about known threats and available protections
  • Assist in interpreting e-mail header information
  • Monitor and tune the e-mail system and related utilities, reserving the right to re-queue or delete messages that cause the e-mail system to hang or abort
  • Detect and take appropriate action to shut down unofficial e-mail reflectors
  • Document guidelines and procedures as needed to facilitate policy compliance
  • Not respond to complaints or act on the recipient's behalf with regards to unsolicited (SPAM) e-mail messages from off-campus sites
  • Authorize, create, manage and delete system aliases and public distribution lists as required

As the Cal Poly entity responsible for ensuring IT policy compliance, ITS will:

  • Review, act on and respond to complaints about potential policy violations
  • Refer serious violations or repeat offenders to the appropriate university authority for potential disciplinary and/or legal action
  • Assist university officials in obtaining and securing information in conjunction with formal university investigations and related administrative or legal actions
  • Assist law enforcement agencies in obtaining information for investigations when they have the cooperation of the parties involved or a valid court order
  • Respond to public records or similar requests as authorized by the university
  • Not change a login/username to hide an individual's identity except as a result of an administrative action or court order

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