Email User Agreement
North Alabama Conference
of the United Methodist Church
Electronic Asset and Communication User Agreement
The North Alabama Conference (“NAC” or “Conference”) recognizes the role information and technology play in growing disciples of Jesus Christ and in fulfilling the ministry and mission of the United Methodist Church. To this end, the NAC is making unique email addresses available to all Conference clergy persons and other leaders, all of which addresses will end in the common domain “umcna.org”. Since these email addresses are part of a Conference-owned and operated email system, it is imperative that emails sent from and stored on the accounts established for these addresses are utilized in a manner which is in keeping with the ministerial values of the NAC and of the United Methodist Church.
In furtherance of this commitment, any or all persons who use any North Alabama Conference system, tangible or virtual, including specifically Conference-provided email addresses, will adhere to the following guidelines.
While the Conference’s Information Technology Department wishes to provide a reasonable level of email privacy for clergy or leaders using the “umcna.org” email addresses, such users should be aware that all data on any North Alabama Conference-sponsored or provided system is and will remain the property of the North Alabama Conference. In other words, clergy or leaders using “umcna.org” email addresses should not have any expectation of privacy in anything they create, send from or receive on an account ending in the “umcna.org” extension.
Persons granted rights to accounts and systems at the North Alabama Conference are responsible for all of their personal and professional email activity. Without limiting the foregoing, it is the responsibility of any clergy person or leader using an “umcna.org” email address (an “authorized user”) to comply with all of the following:
- Any Conference system, device, or message must be used for professional/ministerial use only.
- Any files stored on a Conference-sponsored or provided system, including email transmissions and received messages, may not be forwarded or preserved on any unauthorized external resource or mail system.
- Messages, files, posts, comments or other electronic communication that is identified using the authorized user’s NAC email address must conform to the framework outlined in the “Unacceptable Use” paragraph set forth below, as well as with the Board of Ordained Ministry’s published Social Media Guidelines.
- Any authorized person must adopt and follow reasonable security measures to protect his or her data and communications, as well as any NAC system, to include; but not limited to:
- Change your password to the NAC system with reasonable frequency, using a sophisticated combination (suggested passwords are at least 8 characters in length and include a random combination of letters, numbers and symbols).
- Lock your computer workstation or device when you will be away from it for any period longer than five minutes.
- Use an anti-virus software on any device that can be exposed or infected.
- Any authorized user must report any abuse, intrusions, unauthorized monitoring or capture or inappropriate use of the NAC systems, or any component of the systems, to the Director of Information Technology for the North Alabama Conference.
- Acknowledge that the NAC reserves the right, by and through its system administrators, to audit, log, review, capture, retain and monitor any North Alabama Conference system, including all email addresses ending in “umcna.org”.
- Recognize that electronic files and communications, including email correspondence, may be admissible as evidence in court, just as any traditional “writing”.
IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDNG CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATION: Alabama law recognizes that confidential communications properly entrusted to a member of the clergy are protected, and that a clergy person may not be allowed to disclose those communications in giving testimony. The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church (2012) also mandates that clergy are “to maintain all confidences inviolate” subject to certain exceptions. Discipline ¶ 340(2)(a)(5). Clergy and leaders are advised to notify persons and/or parishioners that communication of confidential information via email to an authorized user may jeopardize any claim that person and/or parishioner may have to keep that communication confidential and privileged.
Under no circumstances is an authorized user to engage in any activity that is unethical or illegal under local, state or federal law, while utilizing a Conference-sponsored or operated system. Without limitation, the following activities are prohibited. Exemptions from these prohibitions may be appropriate while a user is performing his/her legitimate job/ministry responsibilities. In general, however, all of the following activities are unacceptable:
- Revealing an authorized user’s account password to others, or allowing use of such account by others, including family members.
- Violating the rights of any person or entity protected by copyright or other intellectual property laws, or similar laws or regulations, including, but not limited to, the installation or distribution of “pirated” material that is not appropriately licensed for use by the authorized user.
- Displaying or transmitting sexually explicit images, messages and cartoons is not allowed. Similar prohibited misuse includes, but is not limited to, ethnic slurs, racial comments, off-color jokes or anything that may be construed as harassment, profanity, discrimination or showing disrespect for others.
- Posting harassing, unsolicited or ethically questionable messages or comments on Conference message board or other systems.
- Using a computing asset to procure or transmit material that may violate sexual harassment or hostile workplace laws.
- Any form of harassment.
- Soliciting email for any other email address, other than that of the poster’s account, with the intent to harass or to collect replies.
- Sending unsolicited electronic communications, including email, or advertising material to individuals who did not specifically request such materials (email spam or “junk mail”).
- Unauthorized use or forging of email header information.
- Posing as anyone other than the authorized user himself or herself when sending email, except when authorized to send messages for another when serving in an administrative support role.
- Transmitting, receiving or retaining any personally identifiable or confidential information outside of the scope of ministry use. If confidential information is required to be sent, use appropriate redaction or encryption. However, always start with the assumption that confidential information should NOT be sent.
- Sending or forwarding email that contains, or is likely to contain, computer viruses.
- Participating in “chain” emails, Ponzi or other pyramid schemes of any type.
- “Everyone” or “Reply to all” messages that are personal messages or solicitations are not allowed.
Any authorized user who violates this User Agreement may be subject to disciplinary action by the Board of Ordained Ministry or other employer to include suspension, termination of employment, loss of credentials or other appropriate responsive action. The Conference Information Technology Department may also suspend, deny access to, de-authorize, repossess, block or deactivate any NAC issued tangible or virtual asset from any authorized user found to be in violation of this User Agreement. Furthermore, depending on the severity of the violation, action may be taken to file criminal or civil charges.
If an authorized user’s action(s) violate, or may violate, any local, state or federal law, the Conference Information Technology Department will notify appropriate law enforcement agencies and will comply with any and all requests for information or other assistance from any such agency.
By using NAC-sponsored or provided computing systems, assets, data and networks, each Conference clergy person or leader using an “umcna.org” email address expressly accepts all terms, conditions, limitations and prohibitions set forth in this User Agreement, and accepts full responsibility for his/her use and/or misuse. The Conference considers each user to be ultimately responsible for his or her own actions and does not accept liability for any individual user.
This User Agreement may be modified only by the NAC Information Technology Department, and such modifications may be made at any time.
Upon access or re-access of any North Alabama Conference system, after receiving authorization in writing or by issuance of system credentials or assets (including an “umcna.org” domain address), each authorized user hereby accepts this User Agreement and agrees to comply with all terms and conditions hereof.ons hereof.