The University of Memphis

Email Use


Issued:  December 15, 2016
Responsible Official:  Chief Information Officer
Responsible Office:  Information Technology Services

Policy Statement

Policy Statement

The University of Memphis provides access to electronic mail ( email accounts) to all faculty, employees and students. Faculty, employees and students are encouraged to utilize this email access for the purposes of furthering education, conducting activities in support of the University’s mission, and other acceptable uses outlined in this policy.



The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines and minimum requirements governing the acceptable use of University-provided electronic mail (email) services.  By establishing and maintaining compliance with this policy, risks and costs can be mitigated while the valuable potential of this communication tool is realized.  The objectives of this policy are to assure that:  (A)  The use of University-provided email services is related to, or for the benefit of, the University of Memphis and the State of Tennessee;  (B) Users understand that email messages and documents may be subject to the same laws, regulations, policies and other requirements as information communicated in other written forms and formats;  (C)  Disruptions to University activities from inappropriate use of University provided email services are avoided; and  (D)  Users understand their personal responsibilities regarding confidentiality, privacy, and acceptable use of University provided email services.


Acceptable Use

Emails sent from The University of Memphis and University provided email accounts are considered official University communications.  As such, the use of University email services should be dedicated to legitimate University activities.  The use of email services is a privilege that imposes certain responsibilities and obligations on the users and is subject to University policies and local, state, and federal laws.  Acceptable use must be legal, ethical, reflect honesty, and show restraint in the consumption of shared resources. 


Acceptable uses of university email accounts are those activities that conform to the purpose, goals, and mission of the University, and to each user’s job duties and/or responsibilities.  Acceptable uses of university email accounts include, but are not limited to:

  1. Announcing university-approved events activities, regulations, policies, procedures, or services;
  2. Use involving research and information gathering in support of advisory, standards, analysis, and professional development activities related to the user’s University duties;
  3. Communicating between University departments;
  4. Communicating between students, faculty, and employees that comply with the above guidelines; and
  5. Communication and information exchange relating directly to the mission, charter, and work tasks of the University including email in direct support of work-related functions or collaborative projects of the use

NOTE: In addition to this policy, use of University email must also be in accordance with the University’s Acceptable Use of Information and Technology Resources policy, UM1535.

Unacceptable Use

The following provides a non-inclusive list of examples of unacceptable uses of University email: 

  1. Commercial activity, including advertising or promotion of non-university events or activities;
  2. To post, distribute or link any material that is profane, defamatory, harassing, unlawful or otherwise inappropriate; to post software in which another holds the copyright, to post computer viruses, corrupted files or any other items that could be damaging to the university’s network or other computers;
  3. Using university email to collect email addresses for commercial use;
  4. For personal financial benefit;
  5. To use for fundraising, political campaigns or public relations activities not directly related or relevant to The University of Memphis; and
  6. Any other personal use that would create a financial cost to The University of Memphis.


NOTE: Use of University of Memphis email accounts must also be in compliance with the University’s Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources policy, UM1535.


While use of any University resources for email must be related to University business, including academic pursuits, incidental and occasional personal use of email is permissible when such use does not generate costs to the University. Any such incidental and occasional use of University email resources for personal purposes is subject to the provisions of this policy.

Email Access

Access to University email is a privilege bestowed to individuals with whom the University has an active affiliation. The University provides University email for legitimate University-related activities to current faculty, students, employees, and certain guests as defined in the University’s Data Access policy, UM1337.  Email access allows for receiving, reading, and sending electronic messages. 


Access to University email and other systems will be revoked upon termination of an individual’s active affiliation. The University has a deactivation schedule for University email accounts that can be found at the IT Resource Access Termination Procedures webpage.


Notwithstanding the deactivation schedule referenced above, the University reserves the right to remove email privileges at any time for University email accounts.  It is the responsibility of the employee or student to back up any personal data in his or her university email account prior to separation from the University.  The University does not make any guarantee regarding availability or access to data after affiliation with the University has ended.

Privacy Expectations

Any email sent or received from users at University of Memphis or residing on University of Memphis email facilities may be considered a public record under the Tennessee Open Records Act and may be subject to public disclosure.  Emails can also be requested through subpoena.


While the University will make every attempt to keep email messages secure, privacy is not guaranteed and users should have no general expectation of privacy in email messages sent through University email accounts. Under certain circumstances, it may be necessary for University approved officials to access University Email Accounts. 


The University will make reasonable efforts to maintain the integrity and effective operation of its email systems, but users are advised that those systems should in no way be regarded as a secure medium for the communication of sensitive or confidential information. Users who intend to communicate sensitive or confidential information should refer to and comply with the Campus Data Security Policy, UM1691.


Due to the nature and technology of electronic communication, the University can assure neither the privacy of an individual user's use of the University email resources nor the confidentiality of particular messages that may be created, transmitted, received, or stored thereby.

Email Retention

Email is not a permanent storage medium.


University records are subject to University Records Management Program policy, UM1365.  Therefore, it is the responsibility of employees to ensure that appropriate emails are securely stored or otherwise maintained in compliance with the Retention and Disposition Schedule.

Email Forwarding

University email may be forwarded to personal email accounts provided by other services (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail, etc.). The University of Memphis does not provide support for personal email accounts.   Users who forward email to personal email accounts are responsible for ensuring successful delivery of emails to those accounts.  However, the University reserves the right to administratively remove email forwarding for any user whose destination email service returns emails as undeliverable. 


Users who forward email are responsible for ensuring the protection of any University information contained within the email in accordance with the Campus Data Security Policy, UM1691.  Users should also be aware that use of a personal email account for conducting University related business may be subject to open records request.

Signature Blocks

Email signatures should follow the guidelines outlined by the University at  

Violations of Policy

Violations of this email policy shall be investigated and subject to the same responses and sanctions as defined in the Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources policy, UM1535.


Campus Data Security Policy

University Records Management Program

Email Signatures

Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources

Data Access

IT Resource Access Termination Procedures

Revision Dates

  UM1805 - Issued December 15, 2016

Subject Areas:

Academic Finance General Human Resources Information Technology Research Student Affairs
      XX      XX     

back to editor