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Category Student Services
Type Procedure
Approved by Vice-Chancellor, 15 April 2013
Date Procedure Took Effect 15 April 2013
Last approved revision 1 May 2017
Sponsor Director, Student and Academic Services
Responsible officer Director, Student and Academic Services


The purpose of this policy is to manage mass communications to large groups of students so as to ensure that only appropriate messages are sent, and that these are delivered via a suitable medium.  This includes messages sent via:

1.mass emails
2.the electronic newsletter, and/or
3.networked digital display screens.

Organisational scope

The policy applies University-wide to all mass communications to students, other than those sent by a division, department, University of Otago campus outside of Dunedin or other administrative unit to students enrolled in that unit's area of oversight (e.g. the International Office emailing all international students).

The official fortnightly electronic newsletter from the University to Dunedin campus based students to keep them informed about matters relevant to their life on campus.
Mass email
An email to a large group of students that transcends departmental, divisional, or other organisational groupings.
Networked Digital Screens
Screens managed by some departments or other administrative units that are connected to the network for Emergency Management and other communication purposes.
An event, or series of events, that could cause death or significant injuries to staff, students, or the public; or that can suspend business, disrupt operations, create significant physical or environmental damage, or that could threaten the University's financial standing or public image.
State of Campus Emergency
A period following a declaration by the Vice-Chancellor that an Emergency cannot be managed by day-to-day operational management. The Emergency Management plan is activated at this point and continues throughout the State of Campus Emergency.
Emergency Communications Team [ECT]
A team that comprises staff from the Communications Sectionfrom the Division of Marketing & Communications and is managed by the Head of Communications. The ECT is formed when the Vice-Chancellor declares a State of Campus Emergency.


1. Mass emails

  1. The use of this service is for University purposes only (academic, administrative, support services and research) but not to promote University papers or programmes.
  2. Mass emails to large groups of students should be used only for matters of substance which are relevant, or potentially relevant, to all students in that group.
  3. Mass emails require the prior approval of the Director, Student and Academic Services.
  4. The process for sending mass emails to all students or a specific group (excluding emailed invitations to participate in research – see sub-clause (e) below), is as follows:
    1. Email the Director, Student and Academic Services with a brief outline of the intended recipients and message.
    2. If approved, a template text to collect all required information will be provided.
    3. Once the completed template is returned, the Director will initiate sending of the email. This may take approximately 3-4 days (the timeframe may be longer during busy periods or if the request is not straightforward).
  5. Email invitations to students inviting participation in research require the endorsement of the Administrator of the University of Otago Human Ethics Committees, and will only be sent if required ethical approval has been obtained.  The process is as follows:
    1. Email a completed Student Research Invitation Email Request Form to the Administrator of the Ethics Committees.
    2. If approved, the email invitation will be sent via Student and Academic Services. This may take approximately 3-4 days (the timeframe may be longer during busy periods, if the request is not straightforward, or if the request is subject to prioritisation to reduce student email traffic at busy or critical periods of the year).

2. electronic newsletter

  1. Communications to students that do not meet the criteria for mass emails may be acceptable for inclusion in the fortnightly electronic newsletter to all Dunedin students. Items from the community may be included to foster community engagement eg NZ Blood Service campus visits.
  2. The process for submitting items for is as follows:
    1. All items for must be submitted by the relevant Divisional representatives whose names are listed here.
    2. All items for must be received by the due date listed here.
  3. All items received will be viewed by the Director, Student and Academic Services and if not approved the submitter will be notified.

3. Networked digital screen messages

  1. During normal operations, Divisions, departments, University of Otago campuses outside of Dunedin, or other administrative units are responsible for all messages on their own networked digital screens.  Information about digital screens (Otago Signage) is available here.
  2. Screen messages to all students should be used only for matters of substance relevant to the entire student body. To request that such a message be displayed on screens outside one's own area, email Otago signage.
  3. If a state of Campus Emergency is declared, all networked digital screens will be taken over for emergency communications and remain under the jurisdiction of the Emergency Communications team for the duration of the event.
  4. In the case of a possible medical emergency, all networked digital screens will give priority to safety and health messages as requested by the ECT.

Related policies, procedures and forms

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact the

Director, Student and Academic Services

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