Dear Members of the Campus Community,

As many of you noticed, a public safety advisory that should likely have been classified Informational was sent to students this weekend with an Urgent classification.  This has raised questions about the mass email classifications and provides an opportunity for clarification.

This weekend’s mass email is part of a dynamic and robust effort to keep students and other members of the community fully informed, part of an ongoing effort to provide greater transparency.  The health and safety of our community is a very high priority at Brandeis, and a responsibility that we take seriously.

That said, the misclassification of the message provides an opportunity to clarify Brandeis’ recommendations for the use of mass email.

There are three classes of mass email: Urgent, Formal Notice and Informational. The class of the message affects both the audience and the distribution schedule. The subject line of the message will indicate the selected class. Either URGENT:, FORMAL NOTICE:, or INFORMATIONAL: will appear as the prefix in the subject line according to the message classification.

Urgent Class
Urgent class is a category of mass emails reserved for highly important, time-sensitive campus emergency notices, such as security alerts or closures.

Formal Notice Class
Formal notice class is a category of mass emails reserved for highly important, non-emergency messages, such as federal reporting requirements or significant changes to university policy.

Informational Class
Informational class is a category of mass emails covering non-emergency messages related to University work or information, other than events. This may include non-emergency public safety advisories.  

A primary goal for these classifications is to be sure that when our community receives a message marked Urgent, you can be sure that it is critical to view it as soon as possible.  To achieve that goal, the Urgent classification should be reserved for emergency situations and campus closures.  Since there was no reason to believe the incident this weekend posed any immediate threat to campus safety, the recent email about it should have been labeled Informational.  Thank you to those of you who brought this to our attention.