Mass E-mail Frequently Asked Questions

The UNC-Chapel Hill Mass E-mail System is a tool for requesting and distributing official UNC-Chapel Hill messages through e-mail. This system provides support for mailing to predefined broad sectors of the university community. The Mass E-mail System is not intended to replace individual, school, or departmental address lists or mailing lists. These other methods are more appropriate for many announcements. The Mass E-mail System should only be used when a broad distribution of information is needed and the more limited mailing options are not adequate.

For information about mass mail policy, visit http://www.unc.edu/policy/massemail.html.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mass E-mail

What is Mass E-mail and who may use it to send messages?

The Mass E-mail System is available for sending messages that relate to UNC-Chapel Hill work or UNC-Chapel Hill information, other than events. Events should be posted to the campus calendar at http://events.unc.edu/.

The Mass E-mail System is available to any university unit (department, office, center, etc.) or recognized university organization. No e-mails will be sent without approval. E-mails addressed to students must be approved by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or his/her designate. E-mails addressed to faculty and/or staff must be approved by the Vice Chancellor for Information Technology or his/her designate.

How do I send a mass mail at UNC-Chapel Hill?

In order to send a mass e-mail to predefined sectors of the UNC-Chapel Hill community, login to the Mass E-mail homepage with a valid Onyen and follow the directions to submit a message for review. Approved messages can be sent to all students as well as to all employees. Some filtering is available to target specific subpopulations.

The Mass E-mail Policy is located at: http://www.unc.edu/policy/massemail.html.

What are my options for sending an e-mail message to employees and students?

Informational, Formal Notice, and Urgent mass e-mails can be sent to employees and students by any campus unit (department, office, center, etc.) or recognized university organization. E-mails can be sent to an entire group, or to specified subgroups. Groups can be divided by criteria such as gender, department, student year or GPA, or employment type.

Mass Mail may not always be the best way to get your message out. Please consider alternatives such as departmental listservs, memos, etc.

What is the difference among Informational Class, Formal Notice Class and Urgent Class in Mass E-mail?

There are three classifications for e-mail distributed through the Mass E-mail System: Informational, Formal Notice and Urgent. The classification of the e-mail is indicated on the form submitted by the user and directed by the guidelines listed below. The classification selected is reviewed by the appropriate individuals to ensure proper designation. Message classification impacts the distribution audience and the distribution schedule.

  • Informational class is a category of mass e-mails covering non-emergency messages related to university work or information, other than events (see exception noted above). Once approved, messages in this class are scheduled for off-peak distribution (after 7:00 p.m., Monday-Friday), between the requested run date and the expiration date of the message. Messages marked “Informational” are not delivered to individuals who have chosen to opt out of receiving Informational e-mail. To set your Informational mass e-mail preference, go to the Campus Directory Web site and select the Update Entry link.
  • Formal Notice is a category of mass e-mails reserved for highly important, non-emergency messages, such as issues related to university business. Once approved, messages in this class are scheduled for off-peak distribution (after 7:00 p.m., Monday-Friday), between the requested run date and the expiration date of the message. “Formal Notice” messages are mailed to everyone designated by the requester as recipients. For this reason, “Formal Notice” should be used only when the nature of the information justifies ignoring the wishes of those members of the community who have indicated they do not wish to receive mass e-mails.
  • Urgent class is a category of mass e-mails reserved for highly important, time-sensitive campus emergency notices, such as security alerts, and are reserved for the use of Public Safety and University Communications, on behalf of the Chancellor and University Administration. Messages in this class are approved by designated members of Public Safety and University Relations and can be scheduled for immediate distribution once properly approved. Urgent class messages are sent to all requested recipients.

Is there any requirements for emails concerning human subjects?

Under Federal and University regulations, Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval is required for research with human subjects. Prior to being sent out via mass e-mail, the text of all e-mail messages pertaining to such research must be approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) responsible for oversight of that study. This includes subject recruitment ads and other informational items. In the body of the message (not the Comments), include the following IRB information: name and number of the study, specific IRB, and date of approval. These types of messages will not be approved for distribution until this information is supplied.

However, many activities that resemble research and involve humans, such as class projects, may not require IRB approval. A formal Determination by the IRB is required to send a mass e-mail to recruit participants for class project activities that are not considered “research with human subjects.” Click here for a link to that form (under For Investigators, select IRB Forms, and from there scroll down to the Determination Form). In the body of the message (not the Comments), include a sentence such as the following: “This project [study number] has been reviewed by the [name of the specific] IRB, which has determined on [date] that it does not require IRB approval.”

How can I recycle or reuse an old message?

Locate your past sent message by clicking View Requests. Your message may be listed as Active/Recent or Archived; you can choose the appropriate category from the drop-down menu at the top of the page. When you have found the summary information for your sent message, choose Copy to New from the drop-down menu to the right of the summary.

No informational mass e-mails announcing events will be accepted. Instead, those events should be posted to the campus events calendar at http://events.unc.edu. Events of interest to University employees may also be submitted to the University Gazette at gazette@unc.edu or CB #6205. Recognized student organizations that post events to the Mambo-based Web pages will find them automatically compiled on https://studentlife.unc.edu.

Why don't I get Informational e-mails?

If you are not receiving these messages, you have probably used the “opt-out” option for Informational mass mail. To change your Informational mass e-mail preferences, go to the UNC Campus Directory Web page and select the Update Entry link.

You can opt out of Informational mass e-mail using the Update Entry link on the UNC Campus Directory Web page. There is no opt-out feature for Formal Notice and Urgent mass e-mail.

How much time does it take from when a Mass E-mail is requested to the time it is sent out?

Requesting the e-mail is a first step. All requests are subject to approval (automatically requested when you click Finish in the composition wizard) and then scheduling. Messages are reviewed during regular work hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), Monday-Friday. Plan for a minimum of one day and up to three days for message review and approval.

Please Note: University holidays and/or inclement weather may delay the message review, approval, and delivery process.

When I click Finish, the e-mail submission form takes me back to the first page. How do I know if my message has been submitted?

If you cannot view a confirmation page stating that your message has been submitted, your message has not been successfully submitted to the system. This is caused by application problems with the Internet Explorer 6 browser. To submit your message, you will need to use another Internet browser, such as Mozilla Firefox (available for free download at http://mozilla.com/firefox). Once your message has been submitted, please allow up to 3 days for review and approval.

How many people received my mass mail?

Mass mail audiences vary day to day due to constant change in the number of university students, faculty, and staff. Informational e-mails are sent only to employees and students who have chosen to receive Informational e-mails, as specified in their Campus Directory settings. Formal Notice and Urgent messages are delivered to all target audience members. For more information on message classifications, see What is the difference among Informational Class, Formal Notice Class and Urgent Class in Mass E-mail?

How often can I submit a mass mail?

We request that identical messages are sent at least 4 weeks apart. All will go through the standard approval process, regardless of past approval. Once your message has been submitted, please allow up to 3 days for approval.

When resubmitting a message, please choose the “Copy to New” feature to create a unique message ID number for your new message.

Are there any pre-made images that I can use for Mass Mail?

Yes, there are some Downloadable Resources that have been provided by the UNC Branding & Visual Identity group that approved for use.  This includes logo and pre-made images/text that can be used for headers.