Electronic Mail Policy


This Supporting Policy applies to all Hobart and William Smith ("HWS" or the "Colleges") community members and Users, as defined in the Colleges' Responsible and Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources Policy ("Acceptable Use Policy"), who connect to and access the Colleges' electronic mail systems or persons who send or receive electronic mail via the Colleges' network systems. This Supporting Policy is intended to supplement the Acceptable Use Policy. Defined terms within this Supporting Policy have the same meaning as their definition in the Acceptable Use Policy.

This Supporting Policy applies to:

  • all electronic mail systems operated by the Colleges or a third party on behalf of the Colleges;
  • all electronic mail systems connected to the HWS network;
  • the transmission and receipt of data including electronic mail headers, summaries, and addresses associated with e-mail records and attached files or text;
  • any transmission identified with an Internet domain name assigned to the Colleges (i.e., hws.edu).

Purpose and Need

HWS may provide electronic mail for its students, faculty, staff and other persons associated with the Colleges in order to best support the needs of its community and the mission of the Colleges. The Colleges provide electronic mail systems to enhance productivity through the exchange of information to advance the Colleges' mission. It is in the best interest of the Colleges and its community members to maintain the availability, integrity, and operation of its electronic mail systems for access and use by all Users. Use of the Colleges' electronic mail systems is a privilege that may be wholly or partially restricted by HWS, and Users accept the responsibility for using these systems in an ethical and legal manner. HWS does not guarantee the confidentiality of the content sent via its electronic mail systems.

Specifications and Guidelines

All Users must adhere to the following guidelines when accessing and using the Colleges' electronic mail systems:

  • Users who access and use the Colleges' electronic mail systems must comply with all policies, standards, contracts and licenses of the Colleges, as well as all applicable laws.
  • Use of the Colleges' electronic mail systems must be consistent with the Acceptable Use Policy and not interfere with the Colleges' mission.
  • The Colleges expect that Users will use its electronic mail system for purposes related to their studies, teaching, research and service responsibilities; their discharge of duties as employees; and their official business with HWS. The primary use of the Colleges' electronic mail systems must be related to the educational and business needs of the Colleges. HWS allows Users to use its electronic mail systems for their personal use, but such use is expected to comply with all HWS policies. All electronic mail messages transmitted via the Colleges' electronic mail systems are subject to HWS policies and applicable laws, whether or not the substance of the mail is personal.
  • While HWS respects the privacy of Users sending and receiving electronic mail via the HWS electronic mail system and does not routinely monitor or regulate the content of electronic mail, HWS does not guarantee the privacy and confidentiality of electronic mail messages.
  • All electronic mail systems and services, including but not limited to individual User electronic mail addresses and electronic mail files which are transmitted, received, or stored using the Colleges' networks, servers, or systems are considered HWS records. HWS may find it necessary to access and disclose electronic mail messages to the extent required by law, to uphold contractual obligations or applicable Colleges' policies and/or practices, or to diagnose and correct technical problems.
  • Recipients may be required by law to disclose the contents of an e-mail. For instance, electronic mail sent to recipients at public educational institutions and public agencies may be subject to disclosure under governmental open record laws.
  • Users should not assume that electronic mail systems are secure. Users who handle sensitive or confidential Institutional Data should take extra care if using electronic mail to distribute this information. Users should use reasonable precautions to provide for the security of their electronic mail.
  • Users are not allowed to alter the source of electronic mail, messages or postings. Such alteration is against HWS policy and may be illegal.
  • Users are only allowed to access their own electronic mail files and accounts, and are prohibited from accessing the electronic e-mail accounts of others unless they have received express authorization or proxy access rights.
  • Users must not send electronic mail, messages, postings or materials which are harassing or motivated by bias on the grounds of, including but not limited to, race, color, sex, age, disability, veteran status, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, domestic violence victim status, genetic information or any other status protected under the law; which interfere unreasonably with a person's work or educational performance; or which create an intimidating, hostile or offensive learning/working environment.
  • Users must use electronic mail systems in a manner consistent with HWS Community Standards and all HWS policies (e.g. Sexual Misconduct Policy, Acceptable Use Policy, or other applicable policies).
  • The Colleges' electronic mail systems may not be used for sending chain letters, spamming, or distributing files in violation of copyright laws.
  • HWS is not responsible or liable for the content of materials sent or received by Users via the Colleges' electronic mail system.
  • Access to the Colleges' electronic mail system ends when Users cease their relationship with the Colleges. Graduating student Users will have access to the Colleges' electronic mail system until the end of the calendar year of their graduation. Access to the Colleges' electronic mail system for all other Users will terminate on the User's date of separation from the Colleges, unless otherwise directed by Human Resources or the Deans' Offices.


Failure to comply with this Supporting Policy may result in actions as specified in the Acceptable Use Policy.


There are no exceptions to this Supporting Policy.