Related Policies and Additional References:
St. Mary’s University encourages using mass email communications as a cost-effective and efficient alternative to traditional paper mailing to reach large audiences. This policy ensures the University can communicate and deliver mission-critical messages consistently through mass email distributions. The policy also guides communication with various constituent groups while appropriately stewarding information, respecting the privacy of recipients and adhering to applicable state and federal laws. The policy supports best practices, coordination of scheduling message distributions, and minimizes the overuse of mass email as a communications vehicle.
The policy applies to St. Mary’s-affiliated persons who communicate to large groups of people within and beyond the University community via email for an official University purpose. This includes email messages sent from a university-owned device, university-owned/registered account or University office. It also includes emails sent through third-party services on behalf of any unit of the university and from any authorized university employee or agent acting in their official capacity.
The University’s email domain — stmarytx.edu — automatically blocks attempts to send an email to more than 100 addresses from any individual/personal stmarytx.edu email account. Therefore, any email distribution to more than 100 addresses constitute a mass distribution.
Distribution Lists creation process and approval
To request a distribution list, submit a ticket to the Technical Support Center. This will then be assigned and approved by the Office of University Communications and Systems Support. Once approved the list will be created.
Responsible Offices – Access to Distribution Lists and Authorized to Distribute
Mass email distributions to internal and external audiences should be coordinated through the Office of University Communications for sending using the email platform, Emma. University Advancement Services maintains contact information for external constituent groups — alumni, donors, Trustees, Marianists, advisory boards, emeriti groups, vendors, etc. Advancement Services provides requested lists to University Communications for external mass email distributions.
The exception to this requirement is for certain offices that require access to specific internal distribution lists.
- Office of the President — All Employees and all students
- Office of the Provost — All Employees (broken down to faculty and staff if needed) and all student
- Vice Presidents’ Offices (including some of their departments, such as Human Resources, Registrar, Information Services and Facilities) — All faculty and staff, and all students
- Deans’ Offices — All school faculty and staff, and all school students
University Communications also consults with Advancement Services for scheduling distributions to external constituent groups.
Distribution lists for internal audiences — current faculty, staff and students — are auto-updated daily and made available to University Communications. Offices should not maintain separate distribution lists for any internal or external constituent groups.
Communications Within Units – Outlook Distribution Lists
Schools, administrative units and some offices can send messages from their “office” email account to their internal groups – students, faculty, and/or staff. The authorized user of the “office” email account can access the distribution lists (for that office’s internal groups) in Outlook. Outlook distribution lists are not accessible using individual/personal stmarytx.edu domain addresses.
Example: Authorized persons in the School of Law can send messages directly to law students, faculty and/or staff from the “Office of the Law Dean” email account. The three distribution lists are accessible in Outlook from the “Office of the Law Dean” email account.
Mass Email Distribution Best Practices
Email messages must be clear from the message content that it is from St. Mary’s University so recipients can see where it originated.
- Accurate content and wording that fits the institution’s voice and brand
- Appropriate videos, images and branding
- Ensure no Personally Identifiable Information (PII), HIPPA- or FERPA-protected information is included
- Do not include attachments. If you need to include a document, it should be placed within Office 365 (such as on Teams or SharePoint) and shared via link.
- Ensure the communication is not personal
- For external distributions, the message must include an unsubscribe option, per federal law
- Select distribution times for optimal results and avoid conflict or overlap with other messages to the same group
- Always use the BCC: field for sending to any distribution list.
Other Mass Distribution Platforms
Communications to Prospective Students
Mass email distributions to prospective undergraduate and graduate students are sent using Slate managed by Enrollment Management. The Office of Law Admissions manages communications sent to prospective students interested in programs offered in the School of Law.
Emergency communications are distributed through the RAVE Alert System for weather-related delays and closures, power outages and any situation threatening our campus community’s health and safety. Trained personnel in the Office of University Communications, Office of Human Resources, University Police Department and Information Services are the only St. Mary’s community members authorized to send RAVE alerts.
St. Mary’s automatically enrolls students and employees in RAVE, the emergency notification service used by the University. Students and employees can choose to opt-out. RAVE alerts are messages sent only for emergency purposes and situations, or Clery compliance warnings and notifications. RAVE alerts are not sent for non-emergency and non-Clery reasons.