Email Standards and Guidelines

Last updated: 3/4/2020 | Contact for Additional Info: it@tufts.edu

Overview

Email services are provided to the Tufts community in support of the teaching, learning and research mission of the University and the administrative functions to carry out that mission.  Users of Tufts’ email services are expected to act in accordance with the Information Stewardship and related Policies and with professional and personal courtesy and conduct. Email may not be used for unlawful activities. This Email Standard and Guidelines and related Policies provide the framework in which all email services are provided and used at Tufts.

Definitions

To clarify terms used within this Email Standard and Guidelines, the following definitions are provided:

Email Account An email account is the location where mail is actually delivered. It is a combination of a login username and password and disk space.
Email Username The actual name of the account as typed in at the Username prompt when logging onto email.
Email name address The first.last@tufts.edu address is the name address or alias. It is linked to a preferred email account but is, itself, not an account username, but rather a permanent email alias. Use of the name address ensures that the email address will remain the same the whole time one is at Tufts.
Email delivery address The username@exchange.tufts.edu address is the delivery address. Each e-mail account has its own unique delivery address which can be given out to correspondents as one's e-mail address or a person may opt to use the email name address in addition to or instead of the delivery address.

 

Email Accounts

  • Users of email must adhere to the Information Stewardship and associated Policies.
  • Users are to take precautions to prevent the unauthorized use of e-mail account passwords. Passwords are not to be shared with others and their confidentiality is to be strictly maintained. In choosing passwords, users should select codes that are difficult to guess and should change them on a regular basis. Users will be held accountable for all actions performed with their passwords, including those performed by other individuals as a result of user negligence in protecting passwords. Email administrators and other computer support staff will never ask you for your password.
  • No one is to use another individual's account, with or without permission.
  • Email accounts are assigned a disk quota on the email server. Users should not rely on disk space on email servers for the purposes of archiving or record retention.  For archiving and record retention, individuals are advised to use suitable alternative options, such as Box.
  • Closing a Non-student Email Account:
    • When non-students (e.g., faculty or staff)  leave Tufts, they will receive 4 email warning notifications: one per week for 4 weeks from the separation date.  At the end of the 4 weeks, the individual’s credentials (user ID and password) will be locked, and the individual is no longer able to access their email account.  A non-student’s email account may be locked sooner, depending on the situation. 
    • 30 days after a non-student’s credentials are locked, their mailbox is purged
  • Closing or Forwarding a Student Email Account:
    • When students graduate, they receive 4 email warning notifications: one per week for 4 weeks. 
    • By default, students will start receiving these email warning notifications 90 days following their degree completion date, although individual schools can alter the 90-day default. 
    • During the 4-week email warning period, if they haven’t already done so, students have the option to implement an email forwarding address that will take effect immediately and remain active in perpetuity. 
    • At the end of the 4-week warning period, the student’s access is altered to Alumni state, which means access to SIS only is allowed.  A student’s credentials may be locked sooner, depending on the situation.
    • At this time, work is underway to purge graduating students’ mailboxes 30 days after their credentials are altered to Alumni state.  When that work is complete, this standard will be updated accordingly.
  • Special Cases:  
    • Administrative Lock: Under certain circumstances, an Administrative Lock may be placed on an email account.  An Administratively Locked mailbox, while not accessible to the mailbox owner, will continue to receive mail.  Provided the individual’s employment or student status does not change while the Administrative Lock is in place, the mailbox contents will again be accessible to the mailbox owner when the Administrative Lock is removed.
    • Litigation Hold: If a Litigation Hold has been placed on a mailbox, mailbox contents are not purged until the Litigation Hold is lifted.
    • Students who stop registering for or attending classes for extended periods, without notifying the university, can risk having their email accounts removed.  
  • Student email accounts can be immediately locked upon the request of the department head or dean.  Non-student email accounts can be immediately locked upon the request of Human Resources.
  • Email name addresses (firstname.lastname@tufts.edu) are never re-used.

Email Addresses

  • Email name addresses are generated from the user's legal name and must be unique. Duplicate names are resolved based an alternate name selected by the affected user(s).
  • Email usernames and email name addresses may be changed when a user legally changes their name.

Group or Departmental Accounts

In some situations, a single point of contact is required where multiple individuals manage service requests. These accounts are permitted as follows:

  • Passwords for group or department accounts are not typically provided to the user.
  • Standard quotas will apply to all accounts created. 
  • Account usernames and addresses will be assigned to these accounts as appropriate.

Email Distribution Lists

  • Mailing lists may be used for purposes related to teaching, course-work, research, and administration at Tufts University and University sanctioned student activities.
  • Commercial use of mailing lists, except for authorized Tufts University business is prohibited.
  • See the separate Mailing List Policy.

Directory Policies

Tufts University publishes directory information, including email addresses for faculty, staff, and students. Electronic directory services are provided on the Web in the form of the Tufts University Online Directory and within your mail browser. The Tufts University Online Directory is available for anyone at Tufts and elsewhere to locate faculty, staff and students at Tufts. Email may be sent directly from directory records. The Tufts Online Directory is an integral part of the Tufts email services providing email lookup and delivery.

The Tufts University electronic and printed directories are provided solely for the purpose of assisting individuals to contact one another. Information in the directories may not be extracted by any means for the creation of distribution lists for use by businesses or other organizations outside of Tufts. Use of directory information for solicitation of business or donations is expressly prohibited.

  • Students who have requested privacy locks with their Registrar will not appear in the online directory. The setting of a privacy lock means that the student will not be listed in any online directories and will not be able to use their name address (firstname.lastname@tufts.edu form). Email addresses for individuals with privacy locks will be based on the e-mail delivery address (username@exchange.tufts.edu).
  • Faculty and staff may elect to remove personal contact information (including phone numbers and email address) from the online University directory. Personal contact information includes campus address, campus phone numbers, and email address. Removal of personal contact information from the online directories means that the individual will not be able to use their email name address (firstname.lastname@tufts.edu). Email addresses for individuals with contact information removed from the directories will be based on the email delivery address (username@exchange.tufts.edu).

Security, Privacy and Confidentiality

  • Tufts cannot guarantee the security, privacy, and confidentiality of email. Users should not assume confidentiality of their email. Users are not advised to send confidential University communications (as determined by law, policy, etc.) via email. Examples of why email confidentiality cannot be guaranteed are:
    • Email may be subject to disclosure under law.
    • Back-up copies of emails may be retained for periods of time and in locations unknown to senders and recipients even if the user has deleted the original email message from their account or PC or from the official Tufts email system.
    • In the course of routine systems maintenance, troubleshooting and mail delivery problem resolution, network or systems staff may inadvertently see the content of email messages.
    • Password protections are advised but cannot be guaranteed.
    • Senders can mask their identity.
    • Messages can be easily forwarded without permission to individuals or groups, even though forwarding may violate privacy laws. Messages can be intercepted while in transit through the network.
    • Forwarded messages can be altered from the original.
    • Encryption and digital signatures are evolving technologies and are not yet widely available for use consistently at Tufts.
    • Once a message is received on a machine outside of Tufts, all of the above concerns continue to apply.

Email Abuse and Policy Enforcement

Email services are provided to the Tufts community to conduct University business.

  • Violations of the Email Standard and Guidelines or of Tufts University’s Information Stewardship and related  Policies will be subject to disciplinary action and violators may have their email account suspended during any investigation.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples of email abuse:

  • Excess personal use that interferes with University business by burdening the network or systems or by interfering employment obligations.
  • Interference with other people's use of email.
  • Intentional unauthorized access of other people's email.
  • Sending spam, chain letters, letter bombs or any other type of widespread distribution of unsolicited email.
  • Forging email
  • Giving the impression you are representing the University unless you are authorized to do so.
  • Use of email for commercial activities or personal gain (except as covered by the Policy on Rights and Responsibilities with Respect to Intellectual Property and the Information Stewardship Policies).
  • Sending of offensive or abusive messages.
  • Conducting unlawful activities.

Email abuse may be reported to abuse@tufts.edu. Reports of abuse will be investigated and handled as appropriate. In all cases, do not delete any evidence or message(s) as they can be used as evidence.

Responsibility for Email Policies

Tufts Technology Services (TTS) is responsible for implementing this Email Standard and Guidelines.

The University retains the right to change this Email Standard and Guidelines as necessary.

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