Policy Manual

Definitions

Knowledge of the terms and definitions is important to an understanding of this Policy.

Compelling Circumstances: Circumstances in which failure to act might result in significant bodily harm, significant property loss or damage, loss of significant evidence of one or more violations of law or of University policies, or significant liability to the University or to members of the University community.

Electronic Communications: Any communications that is broadcast, created, sent, forwarded, replied to, transmitted, stored, held, copied, downloaded, displayed, viewed, read, or printed by one or several electronic communications systems or resources. For purposes of this Policy, an electronic file that has not been transmitted is not an electronic communication.

Electronic Communications Records: Electronic transmissions or messages created, sent, forwarded, replied to, transmitted, distributed, broadcast, stored, held, copied, downloaded, displayed, viewed, read, or printed by one or several electronic communications systems or resources. This definition of electronic communications records applies equally to the contents of such resources, attachments to such resources, and transactional information associated with such records.

Electronic Communications Resources: Any combination of telecommunications equipment, transmission devices, electronic video and audio equipment, encoding of decoding equipment, computers and computer time, data processing or storage systems, computer systems, servers, network input/output and connecting devices, and related computer records, programs, software, and documentation that supports electronic communications resources.

Electronic Communications Service Provider: Any unit, organization, or personnel with responsibility for managing the operation of and controlling individual user access to any part of the University’s electronic communications systems and resources.

Electronic Communications Systems or Resources: Any messaging, collaboration, publishing, broadcast, or distribution system that depends on electronic communications resources to create, send, forward, reply to, transmit, store, hold, copy, download, display, view, read, or print electronic records for purposes of communication across electronic communications network systems between or among individuals or groups, that is either explicitly denoted as a system for electronic communications or is implicitly used for such purposes.

Emergency Circumstances: Circumstances in which time is of the essence and there is a high probability that delaying action would almost certainly result in compelling circumstances.

Holder of an Electronic Communications Record or Electronic Communications Holder: An electronic communications user who, at a given point in time, is in possession of receipt of a particular electronic communications record, whether or not that electronic communications user is the original creator or a recipient of the content of record.

Possession of Electronic Communications Record: An individual is in possession of an electronic communications record, whether the original record or a copy or modification of the original record, when that individual has effective control over the location of its storage or access to its content. Thus, an electronic communications record that resides on an electronic communications server awaiting download to an addressee is deemed, for purposes of this Policy, to be in the possession of that addressee. Systems administrators and other operators of University electronic communications resources are excluded from this definition of possession with regard to electronic communications not specifically created by or addressed to them. Electronic communications users are not responsible for electronic communications records in their possession when they have no knowledge of the existence or contents of such records.

Substantiated Reason: Reliable evidence indicating that violation of law or University policies listed in Appendix C, Policies Relating to Non-Consensual Access, probably has occurred, as distinguished from rumor, gossip, or other unreliable evidence.

Time-dependent, Critical Operational Circumstances: Circumstances in which failure to act could seriously hamper the ability of the University to function administratively or to meet its teaching obligations, but excluding circumstances pertinent to personal or professional activities, or to faculty research or matters of shared governance.

Transactional Information: Information, including electronically gathered information, needed either to complete or identify an electronic communication. Examples include but are not limited to: electronic mail headers, summaries, addresses and addressees; records of telephone calls, and IP address logs.

University Administrative Record: A University Record that is directly related to the conduct of the University’s administrative business.

University Electronic Communications Record: A University Record in the form of an electronic communications record, whether or not any of the electronic communications resources utilized to create, send, forward, reply to, transmit, store, hold, copy, download, display view, read or print the electronic communications record are owned by the University. This implies that the location of the record, or the locations of its creation or use, does not change its nature (a) as a University electronic communications record for purposes of this or other University policy, and (b) as having potential problems for disclosure under the Georgia Open Records Act.

Until determined otherwise or unless it is clear from the context, any electronic communications record residing on university –owned or controlled telecommunications, video, audio, and computing facilities will be deemed to be a University electronic communications record for purposes of this Policy. This would include personal electronic communications. Consistent with the principles of least perusal and least action necessary and of legal compliance, the University must make a good faith effort to distinguish University electronic communications records from personal and other electronic communications in situations relevant to disclosures under the Georgia Open Records act and other laws, or for other applicable provisions of this Policy.

University Electronic Communications Systems or Resources: Electronic communications systems or resources owned or operated by the University or any of its sub-units or provided through contracts with the University.

University Record: A “public record” includes writing or other forms of recording that contain information relating to the conduct of the public’s business in materials prepared, owned, used, or retained by the University regardless of physical form or characteristics. Except for certain defined situations, such University records are subject to disclosure under the Georgia Open Records Act.

In general, records held by students, including electronic communications records, are not University records unless such records exist pursuant to an employment or agent relationship the student has or has had with the University. This exemption applies only to the Georgia Open Records Act; student electronic communications records are subject to all other provisions of this Policy, whether or not the electronic communications record is a University record.

Use of Electronic Communications Resources: To create, send, forward, reply to, transmit, store, hold, copy, download, display, view, read, or print electronic communications with the aid of electronic communications resources. An electronic Communications User is an individual who makes use of electronic communications resources. The act of receipt of electronic communications as contrasted with actual viewing of the record by the recipient is excluded from the definition of “use” to the extent that the recipient does not have advance knowledge of the contents of the electronic communications record.