Appendix M: Use of E-mail for Official Correspondence to Students
- Policy Statement
Electronic mail (e-mail), like postal mail, is a mechanism for official University communication to students. The University will exercise the right to send e-mail communications to all students, and the University will expect that e-mail communications will be received and read in a timely manner.
This policy applies to all admitted and enrolled students of the University of Texas at Austin. Official communications using e-mail can include e-mail to a group, such as all admitted students, or an e-mail message to only one student.
- E-mail Addresses
Every student must provide the University with his or her official e-mail address using the online update form in UT Direct. The student’s official e-mail address is the destination to which the University will send official e-mail communications.
It is the responsibility of every student to keep the University informed of changes in his or her official e-mail address. Consequently, e-mail returned to the University with “User Unknown” is not an acceptable excuse for missed communication.
All admitted and enrolled students may claim an e-mail address at no additional cost as provided by Information Technology Services (ITS). Information on obtaining an e-mail address is given at the ITS website. ITS is responsible for providing centrally supported e-mail servers and addresses that assist the University in sending official communications.
The University cannot be responsible for the handling of e-mail by outside vendors (e.g., @aol.com, @hotmail.com) or by University departmental servers. A student may provide an official e-mail address resident on, or that forwards to, such a server at his or her own risk.
- Expectations Regarding Frequency of Reading E-mail
Students are expected to check e-mail on a frequent and regular basis in order to stay current with University-related communications, recognizing that certain communications may be time-critical. It is recommended that e-mail be checked daily, but at a minimum, twice per week. Regular e-mail management will also minimize the risk that the inbox will be full, causing the e-mail to be returned to the sender with an error. Undeliverable messages returned because of either a full inbox or use of a spam filter will be considered delivered without further action required of the University.
- Privacy and Confidentiality
Official University communications sent by e-mail are subject to the same public information, privacy, and records retention requirements and policies as other official University communications.
- Instructional Uses of E-mail
Faculty members retain autonomy in determining how e-mail or other forms of electronic communication will be used in their classes, but they must specify the requirements in the course syllabus. Faculty may expect that students are checking e-mail regularly, and faculty members may use e-mail for their courses accordingly.
- Authoritative Source
The authoritative source on this policy and responsibility for its implementation rest with the Chief Information Officer.
- For Assistance