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Authorising Email Broadcasts to Students Procedure

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Section 1 - Background and Purpose

(1) This Procedure safeguards against possible misuse of email by implementing an authorised process for broadcasting email (i.e. sending a mass email) to La Trobe University students or cohorts of students.

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Section 2 - Scope

(2) This Procedure does not apply to:

  1. broadcast email from the Vice-Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor’s delegates;
  2. other broadcast email, including emergency announcements or alerts, which informs the whole University community, or sections of the University community, about:
    1. matters with potential to affect health safety or well-being;
    2. IT and building facility outages and upgrades affecting services;
    3. changes or updates to the University’s strategic directions or plans; or
    4. University policies or procedures.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(3) Refer to the Email for Official Correspondence with Students Policy.

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Section 4 - Procedures

Part A - Lodging a Request for a Broadcast Email

(4) Any member of the University can request a broadcast email by submitting a request to their immediate supervisor. The request should include:

  1. the purpose of sending the broadcast email;
  2. the target recipients (eg all students, or one or more student cohorts);
  3. an opinion whether the recipients would reasonably expect to receive the broadcast email (either that specific email, or email addressing similar content);
  4. whether or not a similar broadcast email has been sent previously, to the same recipients or different recipients;
  5. a meaningful subject line for the message;
  6. the body of the message (brief, and in plain text);
  7. the suggested expiration date for the message (for recipients who do not open the message before a predefined date);
  8. the contact details of the sender;
  9. the reply address, if needed; and
  10. when the message should be sent.

Part B - Submitting the Request to an Approving Authority

(5) If the immediate supervisor is not one of the approving authorities listed in section 3 below, the supervisor in turn will submit the request to the appropriate authority.

Part C - Approving Authorities for Specific Cohorts

(6) The approving authority for a broadcast email depends on the cohort(s) to whom the message is directed. If directed to more than one cohort, the broadcast may need to be approved by more than one authority.

Target Cohort Includes: Approving Authority
All students of the University

All students based at the Bundoora or City campus 
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) or delegate
Students enrolled in a particular School Dean or delegate
Students undertaking study in a particular School Dean or delegate
Students based at a campus other than Bundoora or the City Head of Campus or delegate
Other (eg international students, higher degree students) Senior manager in the division or area which has primary responsibility for students in the target cohort, or manager’s delegate

Part D - Procedure for Broadcast

(7) The approving authority will assess the request according to the criteria in parts E, F and G and will notify the requester of the outcome. The notification will be copied to the requester’s supervisor if part B applies.

(8) If the broadcast email is authorised, the requester will send the authorised message and the proof of authorisation to the appropriate officer to action the broadcast. The ‘appropriate officer’ will be the IT officer, normally but not necessarily a staff member in the requester’s work unit, who has the responsibility, access and resources to send broadcast emails on behalf of that unit.

(9) The officer who broadcasts the email must retain a record of the broadcast and the authorisation for audit purposes.

Part E - Criteria for Authorisation

(10) Broadcast email must be related to the original purpose of providing students with email accounts. In terms of this procedure, email accounts have been provided to students to facilitate their entitlements and obligations. 

Part F - Examples of Acceptable Content for Broadcast Emails

(11) In keeping with part E, student email accounts may be used to receive broadcast emails that provide (or support) the students with:

  1. information about changes to, or other matters in relation to, subject outlines, assessments, attendance, teaching materials, workload expectations, laboratory involvement, practicum placements, or other resources or requirements directly related to the management or administration of teaching and learning;
  2. a suitable environment for teaching and learning, and research supervision by which students are stimulated to reach a high level of intellectual attainment;
  3. a positive and cooperative teaching–learning environment with reasonable access to staff;
  4. opportunities to participate in the functioning of the University at various levels and to provide feedback on the teaching–learning environment;
  5. information about the University support network, which may include, but is not limited to, health services, recreational facilities, counselling services, learning assistance, child-minding facilities, graduate career planning, housing and accommodation facilities; or
  6. information, as deemed appropriate, about student representative organisations and other organisations or issues relevant to the best interests of students.

Part G - Determining Whether a Broadcast Email Satisfies Criteria

(12) To determine whether a broadcast email is related to expectations and responsibilities of both students and the University, consider:

  1. the level of connection or association between the purpose of the broadcast email (as defined in the authorised request, part A) and the expectations and responsibilities of both students and the University; and
  2. the degree of likelihood that the prospective recipients would reasonably expect to receive the broadcast email.

(13) If the email satisfies the criteria, and the content of the message does not breach University regulations and policies, then the broadcast email may be authorised. 

(14) If there is any doubt whether the conditions outlined above are satisfied, then the University’s Privacy Officer should be consulted.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(15) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. student cohort: a group of students who can be sorted by a field in the Student Information System, such as (but not limited to) campus where based, school or course of enrolment, or fee status.
  2. Entitlements and obligations: expectations and responsibilities of both students and the University.