8.1.4 Electronic Mail

Policy TrackingDate
RevisedFebruary 8, 2024

  1. Electronic Mail (email) transmitted or received over the Blue Ridge Community College email system is the property of the College: Users should be aware that email is not private or secure. Blue Ridge Community College users who access their Blue Ridge Community College email accounts or network accounts from personal computers or from a non-Blue Ridge Community College computer are still subject to the same policies and procedures contained herein. Any email correspondence generated by or received by a Blue Ridge Community College computer is the property of the College and is subject to the North Carolina Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties (Ref. NC G.S. Ch. 132).
  2. Signature: Each Blue Ridge Community College user shall use a common email signature block which shall consist ONLY of the following in black, 12-point or normal size Tahoma or Sans Serif font:
    1. Name
    2. Title (optional)
    3. Office location (optional)
    4. Office telephone number or appropriate College phone number
    5. FAX number (optional)
    6. College name, address, URL, College logo, mission statement, and public records disclaimer will be automatically added to all signature blocks by the College.
    Additional unapproved text, graphics, and animations are prohibited.

  3. Curriculum Student Email: Student email is an approved means of communicating with Blue Ridge Community College curriculum students. It is the property of the College and should be used only for institutional purposes. When a student submits an application to the college for a curriculum program of study, he/she will be issued a free student email account. The email addresses assigned to our curriculum students serves as the official email address for all College email correspondence.The College will only transmit email information to alternative or student supplied email accounts where an assigned account is not available or not provided, such as the case with Economic and Workforce Development/Continuing Education students.The Official email address is in the form username@webmail.blueridge.edu for students and username@blueridge.edu for College employees.This is the only email address that is officially associated with a curriculum student of the College.In general, this address remains the same throughout one’s association with the College.
  4. Use of Listservs: Users may participate in discussions that take place on work-related or professional mailing lists or “listservs,” but such items should be deleted as soon as no longer needed. Upon leaving the employment of the College, users should also unsubscribe from all such lists. Addition or removal from official lists or groups which are a part of the community college’s email system shall be handled through the System Administrator.
  5. Retention of Email:
    1. Email is simply a method of communicating information and does not in and of itself constitute a public record under the North Carolina Public Records Act (NCGS 132-1); however, information transmitted by email may become a public record if it meets the definition in the Act, i.e., if it is information made or received in the transaction of College business. It is the content of the email which determines whether it is a public record or not and subject to e-discovery. Blue Ridge Community College does not review every email to make such a determination. All email information transmitted or received through the College’s business domain @blueridge.edu shall be categorized as general correspondence. There shall be no attempt to treat any correspondence as priority emails unless directed to do so by an authorized entity. General correspondence includes information that may be covered under the open records law. The College has contracted with a third party provider to manage and archive all email records. Archived emails are stored on our third party provider’s computer system. All messages sent or received by Blue Ridge Community College employee email accounts shall be retained for and purged after the retention period defined in the North Carolina Community College Records Retention & Disposition schedule. Blue Ridge Community College will not able to respond to requests for retrieval of emails outside of this time frame. Designated Blue Ridge Community College personnel have access to these emails from an Internet interface. There is no archiving of information for student email accounts.
  6. Types of Email Messages. For public records retention purposes, email messages generally fall into the following two categories:
    1. Email of Limited or Transitory Value. Some email is of limited or transitory value. Examples of such are as follows:
      • Messages seeking dates for meetings or reservations and confirmations.
      • Personal messages (including electronic mail) not related to official business.
      • Preliminary drafts of documents superseded by final drafts of the records.
      • Documents downloaded from the World Wide Web or by file transfer protocol not used in the transaction of business.
      • Records that do not contain information necessary to conduct official business, meet statutory obligations, carry out administrative functions, or meet organizational objectives.

      Such messages may be deleted as soon as they no longer serve an administrative purpose.

    2. Email Containing Information Having Lasting Value. Such email may be used to transmit records having lasting value. For example, email about interpretations of Blue Ridge Community College policies or procedures may be the only record of that subject matter. Such records should be transferred to another medium and appropriately filed, thus permitting email records to be purged at regular intervals.

      Employees are reminded that the content of the email, not the method or device in which it was sent, dictates whether the email is a public record. For example, if an employee has work email on their private, personal email account, that email remains a public record. For this purpose, employees are strongly encouraged to use only their work email address for work emails. In the event that an employee, however, does have work emails on their personal email accounts, they are responsible to properly maintain the email and, if necessary for retention purposes, transfer the email to another medium for proper retention.
  7. Email Retention
    1. To comply with North Carolina Records Retention and public records law, the complete contents of each email sent or received from an employee email account (@blueridege.edu) is retained in a designated email retention system for 5 years. Content stored in the email retention platform may only be accessed upon written request from the College President or Director of Human Resources.
    2. Any records that are subject to audit proceedings or that relate to pending or probable litigation must be retained until the conclusion of the audit or litigation, regardless of what is stated in an approved disposition schedule.
    3. Only the CIO, Director of IT and Assistant Director of IT have access to the email retention platform.
  8. Email Logs and Email Transmission Metadata
    1. Both the employee and student email systems maintain logs of email transmissions. These logs only contain email transmission metadata including: email address of sender and recipient (including BCC recipients), email subject, the file name of any attachments, time and date stamps, as well as applicable Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and server processing information. The email transmission logs do not include the content of emails or attachments. The CIO, Director of IT, Assistant Director of IT and system administrators can access information in email transmission logs as needed to investigate potential cybersecurity incidents, or as needed to troubleshoot technical issues.

Blue Ridge Community College Policies and Procedures Manual