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Same here.



David Gansz

Vice President of Information Technology


Edison State Community College

1973 Edison Drive

Piqua, Ohio    45356




From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Theresa Rowe
Sent: Friday, February 08, 2013 4:25 PM
Subject: Re: [CIO] Question of ethics


We have a policy that prohibits us from looking into anyone's email account without the advanced approval from the Office of Legal Affairs and the appropriate Human Resources department.



At ISU action like this requires legal counsel consult with the appropriate functional unit..
I see increasingly that IT is asked to be involved in problems like this...when there are usually more conventional approaches...but we are easy to ask!

$.02 from a lurking instructional technologist:

Whenever possible, encourage your faculty to not use email to transmit these sorts of messages to students. If you have a learning management system that will both post announcements in the course-site and also automagically send an email copy (and I can't think of one that doesn't do this), that's the way to go. That way, instructors can hold students responsible for the announcement in the course-site (which students are incapable of deleting or losing), and students still get the immediacy of an email.

If I had an instructor who came to me with this issue, I would encourage him or her to give the student makeup exam and implement a more robust notification system (like above) next time so that this sort of thing would become impossible :-)

Matthew Putz, Ed.D.
Director of Teaching and Learning Technology
Bethel University (
(651) 638-6467

We too at Coe College will not look unless we have approval by the Academic Dean.  We do ask the professor to verify by looking at sent email that that student was actually on the list and/or have them ask the student to look at SPAM or any rules they may have setup for routing email.  

Google now has the ability to look at sent mail to see if it was opened.  We had that when we had Novell Groupwise, so maybe what you use has that type of functionality that can be used in the future.

We also have the policy in place that the syllabus or what they have posted in the LMS (Moodle) is by default the place to look for test and scheduled items.  With the use of Smartphones and tablets, if they do not have all their devices setup correctly, one of them may treat the email differently and make it not available for other email clients the student or faculty member may be using.

Does the computer use policy give us the authority, is it the right thing to do, even if the policy says so?  We would get approval from the appropriate VP.

This topic comes up semi regularly.  Has anyone actually found that email is not being delivered.   Unless the recipient fell for a phishing scheme, it was something done by the end user like a filter, forward, or the person simply did not check their email.  If the email is in the professors sent items, and it was sent to the school account, and your system was working properly the message was sent and delivered.  Ask the professor to double check their sent message.   If the student wants proof ask the student for  permission to look at their mail history. 



Be an Internet Skeptic!  There's nothing really free on the 'net

Utica College and other reputable organizations will never use email to request that you reply with your password, social security number or confidential personal information.

James Farr

Information Security Officer

Instructional Technologist

Utica College




From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Chuck Ruch
Sent: Friday, February 08, 2013 4:17 PM
Subject: Re: Question of ethics


For us to look at a student's (or a faculty) mailbox requires approval of the appropriate VP.




J. C. "Chuck" Ruch
Associate Provost for IRT/CIO
Bradley University
Office (309) 677-3100
Cell (309) 370-7104, Fax - (309) 677-3092






Hi John,

For us to look into a student's mailbox, we require a written request from the requestor and a written approval from a dean or vp. We seek Legal's written approval if the requestor is a dean or vp. This arrangement is a business practice, not a policy. Personally and like you, I too think this is an invasion of privacy particularly for this situation.


Jonathan See
Chief Information Officer
Pepperdine University


We have strict procedures in place for investigations of this sort (and we get very few) that require approvals in writing from Vps of Academic Affairs or CFO depending on the status of the party being investigated. Like others this request would not rise to the level of a search into an individual's account. The make-up exam or posting it in the official locations of the course in the lms are preferable. Tom Thomas H. Carnwath Vice President Technology and Information Services Hamilton Hall 320 South Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19102 Tel: 215-717-6440 [cid:D561A3BD-4B93-4177-95E9-4CD3102CB89D] Need Assistance? Call Oops (215-717-6677) to get answers. OTIS will never ask for your personal information or password in an email. Never share this information with anyone. This message and any attachment may contain confidential or privileged information and is intended for the intended individual named as addressee. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, please notify the sender immediately by return email and delete this message and all attachments from your system. Any unauthorized disclosure, use, distribution, or reproduction of this message or any attachments is prohibited and may be deemed unlawful. Please consider the environment before printing this email. From: John Davis > Reply-To: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv > Date: Friday, February 8, 2013 4:14 PM To: "CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU" > Subject: [CIO] Question of ethics We had a professor that sent out an email announcing a day he/she would give a test. A student then tells the professor that he didn't get the email. So, someone asked our email guy to see if the email was delivered. Should we invade the students email account to see if he/she did in fact receive the email or should we tell the professor there is no reason for us to look. Personally, I think it is an invasion of the student's privacy to look at the email account for this reason. If the student wants us to look him, fine, we should look. What is your thoughts? Any policies at your school that addresses this type of situation. Thanks in advance. John ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ John R. Davis > Chief Information Officer Marietta College 215 Fifth St. Marietta, OH 45750 Voice: 740-376-4390 Fax: 740-376-4812 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at

To Dave’s point, even logged delivery does not prove the message was read.


E.g., I have some “special” senders with special messages in the subject line, like “smoking cessation”, (I never started, and likely won’t,) that go straight to delete, and auto removal from the recycle bin. These messages never hit my eyes, at least that is the idea.


I imagine students have similar rules set up—or at least it is plausible enough to cast serious doubt on the delivery = read assumption.


My $0.25, probably < $0.25…


And, to the point of invasion of privacy: students are warned about the potential for admin. to read their e-mail, as are employees. Although most of us feel it is usually an invasion of privacy, we can understand admin.’s point of view.


We advise them to use private e-mail for private matters, for their stay at the university, as well as a little life wisdom.




Scott Helf, DO, MSIT

Chief Technology Officer

Assistant Dean, Academic Informatics

College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific


Western University of Health Sciences

309 East 2nd Street

Pomona, CA  91766






From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Dave Koontz
Sent: Friday, February 08, 2013 2:18 PM
Subject: Re: [CIO] Question of ethics


While I wholeheartedly agree with others comments about policies regarding accessing user accounts, email or otherwise, I don't see why that would be necessary.  Mail servers have log files which a mail admin can easily search based on message ID, or simple TO / FROM /Subject Line and or date range.  You can quickly verify delivery with no intrusion on privacy.


Even if you were to access a user's email account, it would prove anything as the user could have just permanently deleted the message "as proof". They didn't have it (which at that point would be true). 



Dave Koontz

Mary Baldwin College