Monday, September 25, 2006

*Culture Shock*

The following ranks up there as easily the biggest cultural shock that I've ever accounted (together with how big a role the student union actually played at UQ). I simply cannot imagine such an email being circulated back in NUS.

This message is being sent to all Faculty, Staff, and Students with approval
from the Office of the Provost.

Dear Colleagues,

As the political season gets into full swing, it is a good time to remember
the state's "zero tolerance" for using University facilities for campaigning
and review proper computer use more generally.

1. No Campaigning

While the Executive Ethics Act permits occasional, very limited use of
phones and computers for personal purposes under certain conditions, it is
illegal to use UW email, phones, internet, web, or other property or
services to help get someone elected, or to get a ballot issue passed or
defeated. The Washington State Executive Ethics Board has prepared a useful
FAQ on this and related subjects at:

The Attorney General's Office also has written a detailed explanation of the
campaigning restrictions at:

2. Privacy

Employees who have access to confidential or private University data are
reminded that you have a responsibility to protect that data from
unauthorized disclosure. This is especially true of all "personally
identifiable information," as defined in the UW Privacy Policy found at:

3. Other Computer Policies

Individuals are, of course, also expected to use the internet, email, and
other computer resources in ways that reflect civility, good judgment, and
ethical conduct. Specific policies are found at:

Although, having thought about it, here's very a quick and dirty analysis of why I found the idea that NUS might actually send out such a email shocking.

1. The novelty factor.

Considering how depoliticised our campus is (notwithstanding special interest groups i.e. the Environmentalist lobby have generally been pretty strong as have Women Interest Groups like AWARE and female issues e.g. child and women trafficking), the notion that such a email might actually be needed is certainty novel. That is, it's generally inconceivable that a student will actually want to do this.

2. The lack of a need.

Arguably the regulations dealing with internet campaigning deals with this and given the fairly extensive coverage you get in the press, there is arguably no need for such an email.

On a similar front, it could be argued that the ruling party doesn't need access to our details (go figure out the reason yourself) but they get good press is all I want to say. And generally political parties aren't allowed to do the above anyway.

But anyway, go figure. Here's to more cultural shock.




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