When first writing about the Nancy Sebring emails and resignations I noted: "As a cyberlaw professor I'm drawn to the e-mail-related policy issues. But my initial reactions are that they were really peripheral to what happened in this case." "Sebring's affaire d' e-mail: Spotting the Issues; Was This Really an 'Email Policy' Resignation?".
Much of my purpose was to use this case as an exercise in how to go about addressing, separating, and analyzing any interwoven set of issues. (For example, decisions regarding a firing or resignation for misuse of email are of little or no relevance to whether those emails legally qualify as "public records.") It could be an exercise for law students, but also for anyone who needs to think rationally and analytically in the course of any probem-solving task.
However, there was so much to write about the first issue ("inappropriate behavior") that the issues related to the use of email had to be postponed. (That blog entry tried to address precisely what was it about what she did that was thought to be inappropriate, and why, and how do our reactions change with regard to those standards and values over time and with variations in individuals' relationships?)
The remaining issues, left hanging in that blog entry, were:
(2) Use of an institution's offices, facilities and equipment (whether government, schools, or private firms) for personal purposes.
(3) Devoting time to other than assigned tasks during "working hours."
(4) Unauthorized, or otherwise inappropriate, behavior with regard to the use of an institution's facilities.
(5) Public records requirements. (Are "personal" emails "public" records?)