1.Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance for the approval and appropriate use of the UNCG Mobile App push notifications, and University email,  for Mass Digital Communications, as defined herein. The potential misuse of these tools is recognized. Thus, this policy also includes a pre-approval process to prevent misuse. 

2.Scope

This policy applies to campus units who wish to send a Mass Digital Communication. 

3.Definitions and Roles and Responsibilities

3.1Definitions

3.1.1Constituents:

Members of the University community who have a record(s) in any of the University’s databases, such as Banner. These individuals include students, faculty, staff, retirees, parents, donors, and alumni, and employees at foundations or other University-related organizations. Individuals who do not have a record in an official database may also be constituents through other relationships, for example by providing their email addresses when subscribing to listservs or purchasing tickets to athletic or cultural events. 

3.1.2University-Wide:

To all faculty, staff and students. 

3.1.3Mass Digital Communication:

A University-managed platform message, such as email, UNCG Mobile App push notification or other, to 500 or more constituents, whether sent at once or in segments, or sent University-wide. 

3.1.4Message(s):

Communication(s) delivered through email, text, or UNCG Mobile App. 

3.2Roles and Responsibilities

All Mass Digital Communications require pre-approval, using the procedures linked below.  The following matrix delineates the approval authorities for various types of Mass Digital Communications. 

Communication TypeRecipientsApproval Authority
Emergency Notification Any appropriate constituents Assistant Vice Chancellor for Emergency and Risk Management or Campus Chief of Police 
University-wide Major Announcement Faculty, staff, and students Chancellor (or Chief of Staff as Chancellor’s designee) and Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications, in consultation with the Chief of Staff  
University-wide Academic or Research Matter Faculty, staff, students, or alumni, or any combination thereof Chancellor, Provost, Chief of Staff and Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications  
University-wide Operational MatterFaculty, staff, students, or alumni, or any combination thereof Associate Vice Chancellor or Vice Chancellor of the unit that seeks to send the message, Chancellor, Chief of Staff and Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications 
Faculty Senate MatterAll FacultyMay email their constituents per bylaws 
Student Government Association MatterAll StudentsMay email their constituents per bylaws 
Staff Senate MatterAll StaffMay email their constituents per bylaws 
Student Life Matter Students, parents, or alumni, or any combination thereofVice Chancellor for Student Affairs 
Advancement Matter or Solicitation (i.e. Athletic, performance ticket sales) Students, parents, faculty, and/or staff Associate Vice Chancellor or Vice Chancellor of the unit that seeks to send the message.  The Vice Chancellors of Student Affairs, Enrollment Management, or University Advancement (dependent on the recipients) should be made aware of the planned message.  
External Advancement Matter or Solicitation Audiences that include current or prospective donors  Vice Chancellor for University Advancement  
School Advancement Matter or Solicitation Constituents affiliated with a single school Dean of that School, with review by the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement as appropriate 
School Academic or Operational Matter Faculty, staff, students, or alumni, or any combination thereof in a single school Dean of that School or College 
Surveys Targeted Constituents Review by the Office of Research Integrity as appropriate and as defined in 3.2.3 
EnrollmentProspective, Incoming and Newly Admitted Students Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management 

With the exception of the Chancellor, approvers shall share with their counterparts in other relevant units, as applicable, regarding any Mass Digital Communication that impacts constituents in those other units, as outlined in the  Standards and Procedures Document, linked below.

3.2.1Exceptions to Pre-Approval

Exceptions to pre-approval requirements include:

  • Certain types of repetitive communications (for example, applying for graduation) for which on-going pre-approval has already been given; 
  • Newsletters or listservs to which recipients have subscribed; 
  • Annual notices required by law; 
  • Transactional emails (such as billing reminders) that are deemed part of normal business practice and for which timely communication is crucial to sustained operations; 
  • Notices to employees with certain responsibilities that cross units (for example, informing employees engaged in research that federal disclosure requirements have changed);  
  • Communications to prospective students through the Office of Admissions and Office of Enrollment Communications to support annual recruitment strategies. 

3.2.2Survey Administration

The mass distribution of surveys to students, faculty, and/or staff, or any combination thereof, as a Mass Digital Communication must be pre-approved by the appropriate Associate Vice Chancellor(s) and/or Vice Chancellor(s). Distribution dates of anticipated student surveys must be shared with and approved by the Vice Chancellor for the Division of Student Affairs. Other than what is outlined in this Policy, there is no exception from the pre-approval requirement for survey distribution.  

Notification must be given to the Director for the Office of Research Integrity prior to the distribution of surveys related to academic research. The administration of such surveys is outside the purview of this policy and additional approvals may be required.  

Questionnaires, polling, and surveys distributed by an Associate Vice Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, or Dean only to their respective unit for logistical or planning purposes (for example, scheduling a meeting or asking constituents in their unit to provide feedback on a given process) are not bound by the provisions of this section. 

3.2.3Emergency Communications

In order to safeguard the relevant and correct flow of information during an emergency or time of crisis, the Chancellor or designee may temporarily suspend applicable pre-approval requirements. 

4.Policy

University mass email, and UNCG Mobile App push notifications are to be reserved for those announcements containing urgent and/or critical University information and should be used for: 

  • Messages that directly relate to carrying out the business of the University. 
  • Messages that relate to time-sensitive changes in University policy. 
  • Messages that are of interest to a vast number of the recipients. 
  • Messages that inform all faculty, staff and students, referred to herein as “Campus-Wide,” of an announcement or event related to their specific role within the University. 

Mass announcements that do not meet the criteria of urgency and/or critical University information should be sent by means other than Mass Digital Communication, such as the Public Calendar, Campus Weekly, UNCG Mobile App resources other than push notifications, Student e-Newsletters, University Website, Campus Video Monitors, Social Media, Alumni Engagement E-news and/or other information sources.   

4.1Consent

Individuals with approval authority for sending Mass Digital Communications are responsible for ensuring that for each source of contact information used, they have evidence of a process to receive prior express consent for the University to solicit, receive, and store information necessary for the delivery of text messages. 

4.2Public Records Compliance

Because the University is a State entity, Digital Communications are subject to the requirements of North Carolina’s Public Records law, which generally requires that any person may have access to State records. Courts may order the production of University records, including Digital Communications records, in connection with litigation. Appropriate law enforcement and other officials may, consistent with law, have access to documents for purposes of investigating allegations of violations of law or of University policy. Given such considerations, but subject to the requirements of the North Carolina Public Records Act, no University faculty member, staff member, or student should use a University account with the expectation that any particular content, whether personal or business-related, will be private.

5.Compliance and Enforcement

This policy is administered by the Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications, in consultation with the Chancellor’s office and the Web and Mobile Operating Committee. 

5.1Exceptions

Exceptions to this policy may be requested of the Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications. Requests must be in writing, summarizing the program desired, and reason for the exception. 

5.2Violations

Any violation of this policy by a student is subject to the University’s Student Code of Conduct in the Student Policy Handbook. For employees, violation of this policy may be subject to disciplinary action.  Sanctions will be imposed in accordance with the disciplinary procedure applicable to the University employee’s category of employment. If violation of this policy also results in a violation of law, the violation may also be referred for criminal or civil prosecution. 

6.Additional Information

Revisions

Revision Date Revision Summary
08/22/2022 Policy Adopted
10/14/2022 Clarification of definitions

- Digital Mass Messaging Policy. Retrieved 02/04/2023. Official version at https://policy.uncg.edu/university_policies/digital-mass-messaging-policy/. Copyright © 2023 The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.