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Email: Appropriate Use

Find out about UC San Diego's electronic mail policies and learn good email practices.


The university's email policy applies to:

  • All email services provided by UC San Diego
  • All email users
  • All university records in the form of email


  • Email may be subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act.
  • The university may access or disclose email under specified circumstances described in the policy.
  • Email facility staff may inadvertently see the contents of email messages in the course of their duties.
  • email facilities may have copies of email 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 email cannot be guaranteed; password protections are not foolproof.
  • It is possible for senders of email to mask their identity.
  • Recipients are able to forward email 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 email addresses are owned by the Regents of the University of California.
  • email 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 email.
  • Make administrative email available to your supervisor if requested.
  • Protect the confidentiality of information you encounter inadvertently in email or other records.
  • Follow campus procedures for authorization and notification if you must access another person’s email.
  • Respect the privacy of other people’s email and only access or disclose other people’s email 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 email.
  • 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 email 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 email for lawful activities, and not for commercial purposes or personal financial gain (except where permitted by academic policy).
  • Use email 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 email.
  • Never use email in violation of other university policies (such as harassment, copyright violations).
  • Never knowingly interfere with other people’s use of email or disrupt university email and other services.
  • Never let personal use of email interfere with your employment or other obligations to the university.
  • Never increase costs to the university by excessive personal use of email.
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