Computing & Information Services

Mass Mailing Policy

Guidelines for Electronic Mass Mailing

Mass mailings are messages sent to large segments of the Reed Community such as the faculty, the staff, the student body, a division, or a group of organizations. While such messages may seem like a good way to spread information to a wide audience, many recipients perceive them as junk mail and find them offensive. Below are a set of guidelines developed by the College Computing Policy Committee for anyone interested in sending such messages.

Appropriateness

Think about these points regarding the message you want to send, and the group to whom you want to send it.

  • Is the subject of the message relevant to the audience?
    a) For public mailing lists: is the message related to the topic of the list?
    b) For personal lists: are the recipients really interested?

  • Would you feel comfortable presenting this message in person to each recipient?

  • Would you go through the effort to do a mailing like this on paper?

  • Has the message already been seen by your audience?

  • If a group has a representative body (such as the Dean of Faculty's Office or the Student Senate), you may wish to contact that body to confirm the appropriateness of a message, or to ask them to send it for you. CUS can also assist in deciding if a message is appropriate.

  • It is always inappropriate, and often illegal, to mass mail messages of a commercial, political, or fundraising nature.

  • It is always inappropriate to forward chain letters or electronic "petitions."

  • As a general principle, the larger a mailing list, the greater the burden to establish that the recipients will find a message useful.

Alternatives

You should consider these as alternatives to a mass e-mailing in light of the nature and scope of your message.

  • Campus publications
  • Box Stuffers
  • Posters/Flyers
  • Verbal announcements at group meetings

Technical Issues/Netiquette

  • If a mass mailing seems appropriate, follow these guidelines for actually posting the message.

  • Contact CUS to learn about any current technical issues.

  • If the message is part of a series to the same audience, make a statement at the top of the message identifying its purpose and telling recipients how to be removed from the distribution list.

  • Mail the message TO yourself and put the distribution list in the BCC field. This hides the very long list of names & addresses at the top of the message, making it easier for the recipient to read and print.

  • Don't ask recipients to forward the message on to others.

If you receive inappropriate mail, notify CUS. If the message originated within Reed, CUS can communicate with the sender about his or her responsibility to the community. If there is an Honor Principle issue, you may want to proceed through the honor/judicial system.

Approved by CPC at the 11/21/2008 meeting.