Communications Policy Statement

(Senate: 2/14/78; President: 2/23/78; Editorial Amendment:  9/00, 8/01, 9/03, 08)

1. Authority.

a. Sections 618 and 619 of the California Penal Code and section 19251 of the Government Code, State of California, are cited as the legislative authority for the University to establish policies regarding the use of state time, facilities, equipment, postage, and supplies for the purpose of communication at California State University, Los Angeles.

b. Guidelines and procedures for implementation of the communication policies shall be recommended to the Director of Administrative Management and Services by the Fiscal Policy Committee.

Pertinent Code Sections.

Section 618. Sealed letter addressed to another: opening or publishing. Opening or publishing sealed letters: Every person who willfully opens or reads, or causes to be read, any sealed letter not addressed to that person, without being authorized so to do, either by the writer of such letter or by the person to whom it is addressed, and every person who, without the like authority, publishes any of the contents of such letter, knowing the same to have been unlawfully opened, is guilty of a misdemeanor. (Enacted 1872)

Section 619. Telegraphic or telephonic message addressed to another; disclosure; punishment. Every person who willfully discloses the contents of a telegraphic or telephonic message, or any part thereof, addressed to another person, without the permission of such person, unless directed so to do by the lawful order of a court, is punishable by imprisonment in the State prison not exceeding five years, or in the county jail not exceeding one year, or by fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, or by both fine and imprisonment. (Enacted 1872. As amended Code Am. 1880, c. 66, p. 38, sec. 1; Stats. 1905, c. 528, p. 590, sec. 1.)

Section 19251. A state officer or employee shall not engage in any employment, activity, or enterprise which is clearly inconsistent, incompatible, in conflict with, or inimical to his duties as a State officer or employee or with duties, functions, or responsibilities of his appointing power or the agency by which he is employed.

Each appointing power shall determine, subject to the approval of the [State Personnel] board, those activities which, for employees under his jurisdiction, are inconsistent, incompatible, or in conflict with their duties as state officers or employees. Consideration shall be given to employment, activity or enterprise which: (a) involves the use for private gain or advantage of State time, facilities, equipment, and supplies; . . .

2. Mail Service Policy.

a. Security.

No person shall open, read, or cause to read any piece of personally addressed correspondence, including intra-campus envelopes as well as sealed correspondence, without being authorized so to do, either by the writer of such correspondence or by the person to whom it is addressed, except as provided in section 2b(1).

The University will not stamp any outgoing mail without the sender's name or department/division/school. Where the Supervisor of Mail Services has reason to believe the outgoing mail may not be University business, as outlined in section 2d below, an attempt will be made to call the sender the same day. If the sender then verifies compliance with section 2d, the mail will be expedited with priority processing. If the sender is not available by phone, the mail will be processed and the Supervisor of Mail Services will notify the sender and the Director of Support Services of these concerns. When outgoing mail is not identified by sender or department/division/school, the Supervisor of Mail Services will open the correspondence only for the purpose of identifying the sender, and the correspondence will be returned for proper compliance. If there remains any question as to content, the matter shall be deferred to the Director of Administrative Management and Services or designee.

b. General Procedures.

1. If large off-campus mailing is contemplated, the mail room shall be notified as soon as possible to guarantee adequate postage to cover handling.

2. Before registered mail, insured mail, bulk mailings, or any other special service is prepared, the mail room shall be contacted to make certain that specific postal regulations governing the University on the mailing of these items are followed.

3. Distribution of mail at the department/division/school level which is not individually addressed shall be subject to college or department/division/school policy and may be handled by college or department/division/school personnel.

4. Each department/division/school may normally receive up to 25 first-class stamps per month to provide for after-hours mailings. Requests for stamps should be directed to the University Mail Room and signed by the department/division chair or school coordinator or other appropriate administrator. Requests for stamps over the above guideline shall be approved by the Director of Support Services.

5. Requests for business reply envelopes or postcards shall be sent to the Director of Support Services for review and approval prior to issuance. Such approval may involve a charge to the requesting department /division/school in accord with section 2d(2).

6. Requests for use of the indicia permit (bulk mailing) shall be sent to the Director of Support Services for review and approval to ensure that the mailings are in compliance with U.S. Postal Service regulations governing the use of such permits. Approval may require a review of the material to be sent or a charge to the requesting department/division/school in accord with section 2d(2).

7. Except as authorized by the President of the University, University mail facilities shall not be used for the promotion of any commercial activity including those which are presented as an apparent benefit to the University or members of the University community.

8. The use of University mail facilities by recognized employee organizations, recognized professional organizations, or recognized student organizations or clubs is limited to internal distribution and shall be on a reimbursed basis.

9. Pre-metering of mail is not allowed.

10. In the event questions on the propriety of the use of University mail facilities arise, they shall be referred for resolution to the dean of the college involved or other appropriate administrator, or their designee.

c. Services Provided by the University and charges where applicable.

1. The University communications budget will provide postage for the following:

  • All correspondence relating to faculty teaching and faculty professional functions of this University.
  • Correspondence relating to faculty research functions of this University except as noted in section 2d(2).
  • All correspondence relating to administrative functions of this University.
  • Mailing of graduate theses to students.

2. The University will handle the following types of mail, the costs for which shall be charged to the sending department/division/school or to the pertinent grant or contract.:

  • Survey materials for student research.
  • Department/division/school magazines, brochures and newsletters.
  • Airmail parcels weighing in excess of one pound.
  • Express mail.
  • Internal distribution of department/division/school newsletters.
  • Registered, certified or insured mail.
  • Mailings for research supported by grants or contracts, which should be charged to the grant or contract.

Requests for such mailings are to be accompanied by a memorandum from the department/division chair or school coordinator or other appropriate individual authorizing costs to be charged to their department/division/school account.

3. The University will handle the following types of mail, but will not provide postage:

  • Correspondence from University personnel to the general membership of any organization which pertains primarily to the business of that organization.
  • Term papers or examinations being returned to students.
  • Greeting cards or party invitations of any kind being sent by university personnel or departments/divisions/schools except as approved by the President in the performance of community relations functions provided for in Title 5.
  • Personal books or other items being sent on behalf of employees who have terminated or are on leave.

3. Telephone Service Policy.

a. Security.

All telephone conversations are privileged and no one is allowed to monitor them by any means.

b. Standards for Allocation of Instruments.

Telephones and accessory equipment installation shall be governed by provisions of the State Administrative Manual and the University Administrative Manual as interpreted by the Supervisor of Telephone Services. In the event of a dispute regarding the interpretation of these sources, the matter shall be referred to the Director of Administrative Management and Services for resolution. If it is determined that the service or equipment requested is not allowed by the manuals noted above, the Supervisor of Telephone Services will assist the department/division/school in requesting an exception to the provisions of these manuals by:

  1. advising the department/division/school as to what data must be provided by the department/division/school, and
  2. preparing the request once the data have been obtained.

c. Standards for Use.

Telephones are provided for use of university business. College deans or their designees or other appropriate administrators shall review monthly tabulations of calls made from phones in their areas and question possible cases of abuse. The Supervisor of Telephone Services will assist as required. If abuse is established, the Director or Administrative Management and Services shall be authorized to recover funds as appropriate from the individual who committed the abuse.