College Access to Electronic Communications and Files Policy


Davidson College encourages the appropriate use of Electronic Resources according to the terms of the campus policies—Acceptable Use Agreements, Data Security Policy, Copyright Compliance and Laws Acts, and other college policies published on the Technology & Innovation (T&I, formerly ITS) and Human Resources websites.  Access to some or all of these Electronic Resources is provided by the college to certain designated employees for use in the performance of individual job responsibilities. These Electronic Resources are an extension of the workplace and, as such, use is subject to this policy and all other applicable college policies.


This policy seeks to inform the campus community of the college’s right to inspect any electronic communication or file created, viewed, transmitted, recorded, stored, or posted with any Davidson College Electronic Resource.


All documents, communications, messages or other information created, transmitted, recorded, stored or posted through the use of the college's resources should be done in a professional manner.  Inappropriate or unprofessional use of these resources may damage the college's reputation and, in some cases, create legal liability for the college and the individual employee.

Under no circumstances may an employee use these resources to create, view, transmit, record, store or post a document, voicemail or e-mail or other type of message or data that violates federal, state, or local laws, or the college's policies; including, but not limited to, the college's non-discrimination and non-harassment policy. All forms of such data are prohibited regardless of whether or not anyone ever sees or knows about the material.

The college's telephones, communication devices, voicemail facilities, computers and other electronic equipment, e-mail facilities and other electronic resources are owned and controlled by Davidson College. As such, the college, and its designated staff, may inspect and monitor, when necessary as a function of responsible system management or when there is reasonable cause, all files stored on college computers, systems and other Electronic Resources.

Although the college does not inspect or monitor computer files, electronic mail or other resources on a regular basis, it does have the right to access and disclose the contents of such resources without consent of the user.

Employees and others should have no expectation that any information created, transmitted, recorded, stored or posted on or with the use of the college's resources will remain private. 


Electronic Resources” include, among other things:  college-supplied telephones, cellular phones, pagers, PDAs, wireless communication devices, and voicemail facilities; college-supplied computers, fax machines, copiers and related equipment; college-supplied e-mail facilities; and college-supplied network access, including Internet and extranet facilities.

Administration of PolicyThe Chief Information Officer shall oversee this policy and review it at least once every two years.  Changes to this policy shall be made in accordance with the college’s Policy on Policies.

The college will inspect or monitor computer files, electronic mail, or uses of other Electronic Resources when it believes it has a legitimate business interest or need, including, but not limited to:

  1. Responsible maintenance and management of systems.
  2. To prevent the loss of institutional information.
  3. Preventing or investigating unauthorized access and system misuse.
  4. Investigating reports of employee misconduct.
  5. Complying with legal requests from information (such as subpoenas).
  6. Emergencies, including but not limited to:
    1. Threats to health, safety, or campus property.
    2. When necessary to protect resources and system accounts and data from damage.
    3. When necessary to prevent loss or destruction of files or mail to be seized.
    4. Incident to or following a lawful arrest.

As a general matter, actual inspection of files and electronic mail and other resources will be carried out after consultation with the Director of Human Resources, the Chief Information Officer, and the appropriate vice president or division head. However, administrative inspection is pre-authorized for certain routine or time-sensitive activities, including:

    1. Transfer of resources, electronic mail and/or files to a manager, department head, and/or College archives when an employee leaves their position. In doing so, the College asserts no rights to intellectual property beyond those defined in the College’s Intellectual Property Policy.

    2. Inspection of email messages believed by automated monitoring or user reports to contain viruses, malware, phishing or other threats.


Last Revised: February 2018