4.3 Electronic Communications

  1. General Statement

    Electronic communications on behalf of the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) should be used to support education, research, scholarly communication, administration and other MCCCD business. MCCCD provides significant technology resources to Governing Board members, employees and students that, among other things, facilitate electronic communications. Electronic communication is not different from any other form of communication. It is subject to a wide range of applicable federal and state laws and regulations, including public records disclosure/retention requirements and copyright mandates.

    This regulation enumerates standards for electronic communications through which MCCCD business is conducted. It applies whether the electronic communication uses MCCCD technology resources or not. MCCCD Governing Board members and employees have an obligation under the law to conduct MCCCD business through electronic communications in a manner that permits the communication to be captured for public records and retention requirements. Note that, under the interpretation of the law by Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records–the state agency tasked with establishing standards for record retention–the individual public official or employee is responsible for preserving MCCCD electronic communications in compliance with state standards. See Administrative Regulation 4.15 “Retrieval, Disclosure and Retention of Records” and Administrative Regulation 4.4 “Technology Resource Standards.”

    MCCCD employees using electronic communications should be considerate of the needs of others, and should not impede another employee’s ability to use the electronic services that MCCCD provides. All electronic communications must at least contain the name and electronic mail address of the employee making the information available. E-mail signature cards should reflect the appropriate job title and college or district contact information. Using signature cards to promote or feature logos of vendors is strictly prohibited–No anonymous information may be sent. For electronic communications using MCCCD resources, Administrative Regulation 4.4 “Technology Resource Standards,” also applies.

  2. Application of Other Policies

    1. In addition to the standards set forth in this administrative regulation, other MCCCD standards are expressly applicable to electronic communications. For instance, standards that apply to the use of MCCCD resources, including use of equipment and time, also apply to electronic communications. Relevant other institutional policies include, but are not limited to:
      1. MCCCD Governing Board policies
      2. MCCCD Administrative Regulations
      3. Employee policy manuals
      4. Student Code of Conduct
      5. Confidentiality of student records
      6. Sexual harassment policy
      7. Technology Resource Standards
    2. The list in Paragraph 2A is not comprehensive. In the event of a conflict between and among standards, the more restrictive standard will govern.
    3. MCCCD colleges and operational units may develop additional “conditions of appropriate use” for local computing and network facilities to supplement these electronic communication standards with additional detail, guidelines or restrictions. Such conditions must be consistent with and subordinate to the MCCCD-wide standards.                                                                                                                                                                      
  3. Specifically Acceptable Uses. Examples of acceptable uses of electronic communications are:

    1. Communications with local and foreign educators, students, administrators, researchers and colleagues in connection with instruction or research
    2. Communication and exchange for scholarly development, to maintain currency, or to debate issues in a field of knowledge
    3. Use in applying for or administering grants or contracts for research or instruction, but not for non-Maricopa public relations activities
    4. Announcements of new products or services for use in research, college administration, student services, or instruction but not commercial advertising of any kind
    5. Factual vendor communication relevant to official MCCCD business
    6. Communication incidental to otherwise acceptable use, except for illegal or specifically unacceptable use
    7. Marketing by MCCCD regarding its educational opportunities, programs and non-commercial radio and television stations
    8. Uses by MCCCD non-commercial radio and television reporters for journalistic purposes
    9. Communications from MCCCD-related entities with which MCCCD has an agreement that exists solely to raise funds for MCCCD programs about the manner in which employees may support those entities, so long as the message to employees does not focus on specific third-party products or services
  4. Specifically Unacceptable Uses. The following is a list of some unacceptable uses, but unacceptable uses is not limited to this list:

    1. Using electronic communications for illegal activities
    2. Use for for-profit activities (sales, consulting for pay, and so on) or use by for-profit institutions unless covered by the general principle, or as one of the specifically acceptable uses
    3. Use for private or personal business
    4. Chain letter, or any illegal schemes or activities
    5. Mailings to large numbers of people that contain unwanted solicitations or information; such as “spam” or “letter bomb”
    6. Communication that constitutes harassment
    7. Anonymous communications, or communications that impersonate another individual, except communications to the Maricopa EthicsPoint; the contents of an anonymous communication will not be considered a communication regarding official business or a public record of that business with the exception of MCCCD EthicsPoint
    8. Allowing anyone else to use your account
    9. Any communication which adversely impacts the communications of MCCCD by over-loading the network
    10. Violations of open meeting law requirements
    11. Communicating about MCCCD business without complying with the retention requirements specified under Administrative Regulation 4.15 “Retrieval, Disclosure and Retention of Records”
    12. Use of technology resources to market or conduct other activities on behalf of a third party regarding the “hosting” of an event that is prohibited under MCCCD’s Use of College Facilities administrative regulation
  5. Confidentiality

    The confidentiality of electronic communications cannot be assured. Under certain conditions, selected MCCCD employees may have access to them consistent with applicable law or policy including this policy. See Administrative Regulation 4.15, “Retrieval, Disclosure and Retention of Records.” Any confidentiality may also be compromised by unintended redistribution or the inadequacy of current technologies. Employees, therefore, should exercise extreme caution in using electronic communications to communicate confidential or sensitive matters, and should not assume that their electronic communication is private or confidential. Additionally, employees should not use electronic communications to transmit information that applicable law requires be confidential, such as student education records under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.

  6. Complaint Procedures

    Employees experiencing misuse, abuse, harassment or other incidents related to the technologies which they cannot pursue on their own should report the matter through the supervisory chain of command, the College President or to the appropriate Vice Chancellor. If the employee receives an electronic communication from an outside party that is inappropriate, the employee may also wish to contact the authority at the company or service from which the sender is transmitting. Violations of privacy or property involving the technology may be reported, even if the perpetrator is not a member of the college community, if the communication relates to MCCCD business. As specified in Administrative Regulation 4.4 “Technology Resource Standards,” limited incidental use of electronic communications using MCCCD technology resources is permitted. Employees should avoid any incidental use that may result in misuse, abuse, harassment or similar inappropriate communications. This complaint procedure will not generally be available for those types of communications unless there is a threat that may constitute a violation of law.

  7. Enforcement of Standards

    Engaging in any activity that violates these electronic communications standards can result in the loss of access privileges or other discipline. Issues related to enforcement of these standards will be addressed according to established processes in job group policy manuals.

  8. The Chancellor, the Vice Chancellors, the College Presidents or their designees should take necessary steps to ensure that employees under their supervision have notice of and will comply with this regulation and any protocols of the MCCCD electronic communications network, as issued by the Vice Chancellor of Information Technology, a College President or designee.

Technical Change, January 4, 2022 
AMENDED through the Administrative Regulation approval process, June 27, 2011
AMENDED through the Administrative Regulation approval process, January 10, 2011
AMENDED through the Administrative Regulations approval process on December 14, 2004