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Student e-mail accounts required

Policy facilititates efficient dissemination of information via student portals

by Nicolle Wahl

A new policy on official correspondence with students outlines the roles and responsibilities of the university and of students in regard to postal mail and electronic communications.

The policy was approved by Governing Council May 1 and will take effect Sept. 1. The issue has special urgency as the University of Toronto is moving swiftly towards implementing various student portals as methods of disseminating information. The policy refers to but is not limited to correspondence such as scheduling, fees and administration and governance of U of T.

According to the policy, students must maintain a valid postal and university-issued electronic address and are expected to monitor and retrieve their mail on a frequent and consistent basis, while the university is charged with providing technical service and the infrastructure necessary to make electronic communications available to students.

Governing Council approved the policy that had been amended by the Academic Board to specify that students must maintain a university-issued electronic mail account “that meets a standard of service set by the vice-president and provost.”

The amendment arose at the March 30 meeting of Academic Board, when Paul Ruppert, an administrative and professional staff member of the board from civil engineering, noted that students, faculty and staff appreciate how new communications methods, including e-mail, text messaging and instant messaging, are making it easier to find information. However, he expressed concern that there are more than 150 e-mail systems on campus and that the policy did not include specific wording about a service level agreement from the university.

Professor Vivek Goel, vice-president and provost, confirmed for members of Governing Council that the policy had been reviewed by legal counsel and that, with the addition of the approved amendment, it addresses the issue raised.

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