UW-Whitewater Email

Approved: November 23, 2015


This document defines and clarifies policies and procedures where UW-Whitewater's Acceptable Use Policy, and other existing laws and organizational policies, do not specifically address issues particular to the use of individually-owned email accounts. This policy applies equally to transactional information (email headers), the content of the message, and attachments. Email use is also governed by all policies that apply to the use of all UW-Whitewater facilities.

Foundation/Philosophy Statement

In support of instruction, research, and administrative functions, UW-Whitewater provides a campus email system to share information, to improve communication, to transact university business, and to exchange ideas. E-mail is considered an official means of communication for the members of the UW-Whitewater community.

UW-Whitewater has the need to send communications to students and employees via e-mail and the right to expect that those communications will be received and read in a timely fashion UW-Whitewater respects the privacy of users. UW-Whitewater recognizes that academic freedom and freedom of speech are important aspects of the campus email policy. UW-Whitewater does not routinely inspect or monitor email. However, UW-Whitewater may deny access to the campus email system and may inspect, monitor, or disclose email when circumstances indicate such action is necessary. As such, there should be no reasonable expectation of complete privacy. The campus email system is provided as a communication tool for faculty, staff, and students for purposes that conform to this policy; email accounts are created automatically when an employee is hired or when a student attends a preview and/or transfer registration session, and is enrolled in at least one course.  Associates and groups associated with UW-Whitewater are eligible to request a campus email system account include, but are not limited to: emeriti faculty, exchange students, participants in educational programs, contractors, independent consultants, official campus student organizations, and departments.

Appropriate Use

The campus email system's intended use is as a messaging tool and not a file sharing system. Appropriate use includes sending brief messages between two or more individuals, and exchanging small university business-related documents. Users of campus email are expected to exhibit personal and professional courtesy and responsibility in their communications with other members of the university community and external constituents. Mass emails intended for large segments of UW-Whitewater such as all staff, faculty, or the entire student body, must be sent to the Campus Announcement Board; it is then up to the discretion of the Marketing and Media Relations office, whether to the communication is appropriate for mass distribution. The campus email system may be used for incidental personal purposes provided that such use does not:

  • interfere with the operation of campus email system
  • burden UW-Whitewater with noticeable incremental cost
  • interfere with the user's employment obligations

Inappropriate Use

  • Allowing another person to access your email account is not allowed as it may compromise the security of the email system; users will be held responsible for any correspondence originating from their account.
  • Users of the campus email system shall not give the impression that they are representing, giving opinions, or otherwise making statements on behalf of UW-Whitewater or any unit of UW-Whitewater unless appropriately authorized (explicitly or implicitly) to do so. Where appropriate, an explicit disclaimer shall be included unless it is clear from the context that the author is not representing UW-Whitewater. An appropriate disclaimer is: "These statements are my own, not those of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater."
  • UW-Whitewater Email Users shall not send email anonymously or falsify their identity when sending an email. The use of campus email by anyone who is not the designated account holder, including parents or guardians, is prohibited.
  • The campus email system shall not be used for purposes that could reasonably be expected to cause, directly or indirectly, excessive strain on the campus email system or any other campus resource. Such uses include, but are not limited to: sending or forwarding chain letters, exploiting broadcast email systems (Listservs) and distribution lists for purposes beyond their intended scope, or to resend the same email repeatedly to one, or more recipients to interfere with the recipient's use of email
  • Use of email to harass or intimidate, and broadcasting unsolicited messages or sending unauthorized email is prohibited. Inappropriate use of the campus email system may result in disciplinary action.
  • Using email as a means to share files with large groups, to consistently share files that require a significant amount of memory, and to use email for any other means that creates a burden on the campus email system is considered inappropriate. Collaborative file sharing systems, such as Google Drive, are available to all students, faculty, and staff and therefore should be the primary means of fie sharing. Sharing department announcements, events, files, etc. should be conducted through the most appropriate channels, including publishing on the website, the campus calendar, the campus announcement system, shared network drives, newsletters, and/or collaborative storage systems. Using the campus email to occasionally share files of limited size is not unacceptable, however that specific use should be limited and only used when a more appropriate option is not available. 
  • Email should not be assumed to be a secure form of communication, therefore personally identifiable information (e.g. - social security number, personal health or financial information, etc.) should not be transmitted via email.

 For more information regarding the expected behavior of campus technology users, click here.

Allegations concerning the misuse of the campus email system involving faculty or staff should be communicated immediately to the appropriate supervisor or College Dean. Allegations involving students should be communicated immediately to Dean for Student Life's Office.

Access Restrictions

Access to the campus email system may be wholly or partially restricted by UW-Whitewater without prior notice and without the consent of the email user when:

  • required by and consistent with law
  • when there is reason to believe that violations of policy or law have taken place
  • when the continued access/use of an individual's account significantly affects the integrity, performance, or security of the campus email system
  • when individual's account has been compromised

The email user will be notified of the reason and duration of the access restriction as soon as possible. It may take up to 2 business days for email access to be restored. 


UW-Whitewater attempts to provide a secure and reliable campus email system. However, such professional practices and protections are not infallible and the security and confidentiality of campus email system cannot be guaranteed. Furthermore, administrators of the campus email system have no control over the security of email that has been downloaded to a user's computer. Users of the campus email system are expected to take appropriate security measures. Users should take proper precautions in keeping passwords confidential.

In order to prevent a practice known as "spoofing", UW-Whitewater will block all emails indicating that they were sent from UW-Whitewater email addresses that do not originate from UW-Whitewater email servers. Exceptions may be granted based on need and available technology. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater also reserves the right to scan, using an automated system, emails sent from outside the UW-Whitewater email servers for words or phrases, file types, and other potential threats that could compromise the security and/or integrity of the campus network. Incoming emails that contain traits consistent with potential threats to the user or campus network, may be modified for the purpose to warn the recipient of the potential threat, as approved by the UW-Whitewater Executive Tier Committee on March 16, 2015. As a means to educate the campus community of potential threats to user privacy and to protect the security of the shared campus network, UW-Whitewater may send email messages to members of the campus that imitate commonly-used cyber security threats. These educational events will be communicated to the campus community through a campus announcement and/or ICIT website, prior to implementation. Some users may be asked to participate in security training based on the results of the exercise.  


Confidentiality of email may be compromised by the applicability of law or policy, including this policy, by unintended redistribution, or because of the inadequacy of current technologies to protect against unauthorized access.  

Users should be aware that system administrators need to, from time to time, observe certain email transactional addressing information to ensure that the campus system is functioning properly. On these and other occasions, the contents of an email message may be inadvertently displayed. Except as provided elsewhere in this policy, they are not permitted to view the contents intentionally or disclose or otherwise use what they have seen. Beyond system administration needs, UW-Whitewater shall only permit the inspection, monitoring, or disclosure of email without consent from the account owner when authorization for such access has been obtained in writing by the appropriate authorizing official based upon the chart below. Once authorization is obtained, the actual inspection, monitoring, or disclosure of email will be executed with the least action necessary to resolve the situation. This authority may also be exercised by the Chancellor or Vice Chancellor without regard to the status of the affected individual. The authorization shall be in writing and shall be based on a request submitted in writing.

Email User StatusAuthorizing Official
Faculty & Academic Staff Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, after consulting with the UW Legal Counsel and with the written notice to the Chair of the Faculty Senate/Academic Staff Assembly, may so authorize the department/unit head or Dean.
Student (Not acting in a capacity of a staff employee) Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, after consulting with the UW Legal Counsel, may so authorize the Dean of Students.
Classified Staff, Employee or Student in a capacity as a Staff Employee Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs, after consulting with the UW Legal Counsel and/or Campus Human Resources, may so authorize the department/unit head or Dean.

Public Records Request and Subpoenas

The Wisconsin Public Records Law applies to requests for university email communications. .Email delivered to the university is considered to be a public record, much like a written or printed document, and can generally be disclosed. Only existing records need to be supplied. Email messages retained in your mailbox (either on the server or on your workstation) would generally be regarded as readily available and would have to be supplied if requested, subject to any applicable location fees. Student emails should not be released pursuant to a public records request unless the student consents in writing to such release.

If a subpoena requesting email communications is served on the university, the UW System Office of General Counsel should be contacted. Email must be retained in compliance with institutional records retention schedules and litigation hold directives. Any employee who deletes any records, including email, to avoid a public records request or subpoena may be subject to disciplinary action. 

System Backup

The campus email system is backed up solely for the purpose of restoring the entire electronic mail system in the event of a disaster or system failure. Backup files may not be used for restoration of individual mailboxes and may not be used as a convenience to retrieve "deleted" messages. Backup files do not serve a records retention function. Each employee/department must make provisions to retain documents and messages in accordance with their departmental records retention policy. The retention requirement associated with any document is determined by its content, not the method of delivery. The responsibility of retaining an internally created and distributed document (or message) most often falls on the author, not the recipients. Recipients may delete such received messages when their use has been fulfilled.


Global Policies

Global policies are maintained to set guidelines expected behavior of all campus community members while using shared network and computer resources.