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E-mail: Appropriate Use

Find out about UCSD's electronic mail policies and learn good e-mail practices.


The university's e-mail policy applies to:

  • All e-mail services provided by UCSD
  • All e-mail users
  • All university records in the form of e-mail


  • E-mail may be subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act.
  • The university may access or disclose e-mail under specified circumstances described in the policy.
  • E-mail facility staff may inadvertently see the contents of e-mail messages in the course of their duties.
  • E-mail facilities may have copies of e-mail on a backup system even after users have discarded the messages.
  • Backup copies may be retained for periods of time and in locations unknown to senders and recipients.
  • The security and confidentiality of e-mail cannot be guaranteed; password protections are not foolproof.
  • It is possible for senders of e-mail to mask their identity.
  • Recipients are able to forward e-mail without the author's knowledge or consent.
  • The contents of forwarded messages can be changed from the original.
  • Policy violations may result in restriction of access to university information technology resources and other serious consequences.
  • The California Penal Code makes certain computer crimes felony offenses.
  • university e-mail addresses are owned by the Regents of the University of California.
  • E-mail sent by the university with the primary purpose of promoting university commercial products or services must comply with the CAN-SPAM act (PDF).

You should:

  • Think twice before you click on the "send" button.
  • Comply with university policies and state and federal laws that apply to e-mail.
  • Make administrative e-mail available to your supervisor if requested.
  • Protect the confidentiality of information you encounter inadvertently in e-mail or other records.
  • Follow campus procedures for authorization and notification if you must access another person’s e-mail.
  • Respect the privacy of other people’s e-mail and only access or disclose other people’s e-mail with prior consent.
  • Only seek out, use, or disclose personal or confidential information when you have authorization to do so.
  • Use personal and professional courtesy and considerations in e-mail.
  • Employ protections such as passwords to deter potential intruders.
  • Check with the sender if there is any doubt about the authenticity of a message.
  • Request information on the backup practices of the e-mail facilities you use.
  • Ask for advice if you are not sure what the policy allows.
  • Follow laws and UC policies regarding theft and abuse of facilities and resources.
  • Never send or forward "spam" or chain letters.
  • Only use e-mail for lawful activities, and not for commercial purposes or personal financial gain (except where permitted by academic policy).
  • Use e-mail to give the impression that you represent the university only when you have authorization to do so.
  • Rely on other forms of record retention in addition to e-mail.
  • Never use e-mail in violation of other university policies (such as harassment, copyright violations).
  • Never knowingly interfere with other people’s use of e-mail or disrupt university e-mail and other services.
  • Never let personal use of e-mail interfere with your employment or other obligations to the university.
  • Never increase costs to the university by excessive personal use of e-mail.
Note: This page has a friendly link that’s easy to remember: http://blink.ucsd.edu/go/emailuse