Broadcast, Emergency & Targeted Messaging
The University has a need to reliably send timely messages to either the entire campus community or to targeted aspects of that community. Such messages range from emergency notifications that impact life and safety, to broadcast messages to the entire campus community, to specialized messages intended for narrowly targeted audiences. All three categories of messaging share a need for timeliness, ease-of-use, and accuracy. The purpose of this policy is to establish campus-wide procedures that will ensure the reliability and integrity of such messaging to the campus.
This policy defines ‘emergency notification’, ‘broadcast messaging’, and ‘targeted messaging’, establishes criteria for allowable uses of each such category of messaging, defines who may authorize each type of messaging, and delimits the procedures for initiating such messages.
“Emergency Notification” is the use of various electronic means of messaging (e.g. email, phone messages, text messages, electronic signage) to notify the campus regarding potential, immediate and emergent threats to life, safety, or property, especially communications specifically targeted at those threatened by the emergency. By its nature, emergency notification is often extremely time-sensitive. Emergency messaging may be used to provide immediate notice of an urgent threat (e.g. chemical spill, crime in progress), first notice of an uncertain potential emergency (e.g. Flood Warning), notice of action required by the receiver (e.g. evacuate the campus, take shelter, evening classes cancelled), or follow-up information about an emergency incident (e.g. flood has subsided, crime suspect in custody, classes resume).
Emergency Notification typically depends on the campus Emergency Notification System (ENS) as the primary means of communications regarding immediate and emergent threats to life and safety. The ENS supports automated issuance of messages via highly targeted phone calls, email, text messages, electronic signage, and other means of communication to pre-defined lists of receivers. ENS messages are typically targeted only at those who are threatened or those who are required to quickly respond to a threat; ENS is not typically used for the sending of broadcast messages to large groups on the campus. Other messages providing information to those not immediately threatened by an emergency are typically sent at a later time using either broadcast email or targeted messaging (see below).
Who May Authorize Emergency Notifications: Only the President or his designee(s) may authorize use of the Emergency Notification System. University Police, as designated by the President, may also initiate Emergency Notification when response to incidents is so time critical that immediate response is required to protect public safety. (e.g. crime in progress requiring immediate action)
Procedures for Emergency Notification: Direct access to the Emergency Notification System (ENS) is provided to the President and his designees via login through a secure web interface to all categories of ENS messaging. Back-up access is also provided to both University Police and the Director of Networking and Telecommunications or his designee. Authorized users of ENS enter information to define the intended audience, the subject line, the body of the message, and means of communication. Such users then can immediately initiate message distribution, with no further authorization, intervention or delay required.
‘Broadcast messaging’ refers to official messages that are sent to all students, all faculty, all staff, or to the entire campus at one time. Use of broadcast messaging is limited to issues having campus-wide significance and requiring timely receipt that cannot be accomplished through other means of communication. The broadcast message must be a matter of both significant and compelling consequences to most members of the campus community. Announcements of scheduled events or actions that can be adequately advertised to the campus via other means should not be distributed through broadcast messaging. Broadcast messaging is limited to the sending of either campus email or the posting of messages embedded into student or faculty/staff web portal messaging systems.
Examples of acceptable uses of broadcast messaging include:
- As a supplement to the Emergency Notification System, as noted above
- Messages pertaining to matters of University-wide policy and budgeting
- Messages related to campus physical plant conditions or activities for which short notice is a requirement and all or most members of the campus community are affected.
- Campus-wide policy, governance, or procedure changes that are time critical, such as a new immunization requirement or other legal requirement that must be met for continuing matriculation at the University
- Messages of a timely nature having a direct impact on large segments of the campus community (e.g., human resources actions with short deadlines; network, telephone or computer outages; time critical financial and administrative deadlines )
- Other issues requiring timely notification of entire segments of the campus community, where non-broadcast methods of communication will be inadequate.
Who May Authorize Broadcast Messaging: Only the President, Vice Presidents, or their designees may authorize use of broadcast messaging.
Procedures for Broadcast Messaging: Those authorized to use broadcast email use their SacLink ID and password to login to the web application sacsend.csus.edu. Each individual login provides automated access to only those broadcast lists for which the sender has been previously authorized. Clicking on the “To” box in the broadcast application automatically provides access to all authorized lists. Users then click on available groups shown to define the intended audience and then enter the subject line, the body of the message, and means of communication. The broadcast message is typically tested by the sender prior to initiating broadcast messaging to assure accuracy. No further authorization or intervention by other staff is required to send the message.
‘Targeted messaging’ refers to official campus messages that are individualized for sending to particular groups of individuals, based on membership of recipients in pre-identified groups. Targeted messaging differs from other forms of group messages like Outlook Distribution Lists and listservs, in that targeted messaging lists are automatically updated each day from the campus Data Warehouse. For example, lists for a particular class section are updated each day to reflect students who have dropped or added the section. Both campus email messages and web portal messages may be sent using the campus targeted messaging system. Examples of targeted messages include:
- A message sent to all students in a particular major, minor, or concentration
- Messaging sent to all students receiving a financial aid disbursement
- A message sent to all faculty in a college
- Faculty messages to class groups
Who May Authorize Targeted Messaging: Authorization to send targeted messages is delegated by the President and Vice Presidents to those with authority over specific targeted groups. For example, deans are delegated authority to both assign groups and send messages to any employee of his/her college or to any student enrolled in any college program. Deans may further delegate within their college (e.g. chairs sending to departments). Faculty members are automatically authorized to communicate to all currently assigned class groups.
Procedures for Targeted Messaging: Authorized users simply login to sacsend.csus.edu with their Saclink ID and password. Groups to which one is authorized to send are automatically populated and can be accessed by clicking on the ‘To” box. Lists are updated nightly with each group member’s name and email address. Authorized users then click on groups to define the intended audience, enter the subject line, the body of the message, and means of communication. Users then initiate message testing and distribution, with no further intervention by others required.
Approved by Alexander Gonzalez
December 17, 2009