Electronic Communication Policy

Official communications from Hutchinson Community College include both electronic and paper communications.  HutchCC encourages employees  to communicate electronically whenever possible.  Electronic communications may replace paper communication unless prohibited by federal or state law, including regulatory guidance as appropriate.   

HutchCC provides a variety of electronic communication tools including, but not limited to, email, messaging systems, and social media for use by students and employees. HutchCC encourages the appropriate use of these forms of communication, as defined in this and other HutchCC policies, to further its mission and vision.

Examples of official communications that HutchCC may communicate electronically include, but are not limited to, enrollment information, academic progress notifications, financial statements and other financial information, library overdue notices, policy announcements, and notification of official disciplinary hearings.  Official communications must originate from a HutchCC managed system or account.  Any communication originating from source other than HutchCC will not be considered official communication.  HutchCC employees and students are expected to check their electronic communications on a frequent and consistent basis in order to stay current with HutchCC and/or faculty-student related communications.  HutchCC employees and students will not be held responsible for an interruption in their ability to access electronic messages due to a HutchCC system-related problem that prevents the timely delivery or access to the electronic message (power outages, system viruses, etc.).

Faculty may determine how electronic communication will be used in their classes, but must specify their requirements in the Instructor Sheet.  

Student and campus organizations recognized by Student Services may use electronic communication to notify students and employees of meetings, events, and fund-raising activities.

HutchCC electronic communication may not be used for commercial purposes, for personal financial gain, to distribute chain mail, for personal advertisements, to support partisan political candidates, political party fundraising, or political causes, or to support outside organizations.  Individuals who wish to use HutchCC electronic communication in support of external organizations (e.g., charities) must secure written or email approval of the President.

The Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prohibits the dissemination of personal health information without the written consent of the person. 

HutchCC student email addresses are not to be shared with other students without the student's permission.  

HutchCC restricts the use of broadcast electronic communications, which are defined as electronic communications broadcast to large segments of the HutchCC community, such as but not limited to all employees, a particular group of employees (e.g., all faulty, all staff), all students, or all HutchCC email account holders.  Subjects that are not appropriate for broadcast electronic communications include but are not limited to:

Broadcast electronic communications containing attachments are discouraged because of the burden on HutchCC’s system resources.

Students are not authorized to send broadcast electronic communications.

HutchCC employees may send broadcast electronic communications only with (1) advance approval from the President’s Office, the Vice Presidents’ Offices, the Chief Information Officer, the Director of Human Resources, the Coordinator of Equity and Compliance, or the Director of Marketing and Public Relations, and (2) for mission-related matters pertinent to the functioning of HutchCC or emergency messages.  If the broadcast electronic communication is directed to students, the employee must obtain the prior written or email approval of the President or one of the Vice Presidents.   HutchCC employees should use the e-bulletin board available on HCCWeb Services site to post items not related to the mission of HutchCC. 

HutchCC recognizes that its employees occasionally may need to make personal use of HutchCC electronic resources and does not wish to prohibit such use altogether.  The overriding principle that should govern personal use of these resources is that reasonable and incidental unofficial use of HutchCC electronic resources is authorized only so long as:

HutchCC electronic communication resources may not be used for activities that are clearly prohibited.

HutchCC supports a climate of trust and respect and does not ordinarily read, monitor, or screen electronic communications.  However, complete confidentiality or privacy of electronic communications cannot be guaranteed.  Confidentiality cannot be guaranteed because of the nature of the medium, the need for authorized staff to maintain electronic systems, and HutchCC's accountability as a public institution.  The President or his designee may authorize HutchCC's ITS system administrators to access employee or student electronic communications in a number of circumstances including, but not limited to, situations involving the health or safety of people or property; possible violations of HutchCC's codes of conduct, regulations, or policies; possible violations of state or federal laws; subpoenas and court orders; other legal responsibilities or obligations of HutchCC; or the need to locate information required for HutchCC’s business.

HutchCC electronic communications remain the property of Hutchinson Community College.  Electronic communication use that violates the law, rights of others, or HutchCC codes of conduct, regulations, or policies is a serious abuse.  Such actions may subject an individual to termination of account privileges and/or appropriate disciplinary and/or legal action.