Email Use | Policies

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Email Use

Policy governing proper and responsible use of email at Teachers College.

Owner: Information Technology


Email is an efficient way to send messages within the Teachers College community. Because of the versatility and ubiquity of email technology, the College recognizes and has established the use of email as an official means of communication. This policy defines the appropriate use of the College’s email and its retention.



This policy applies to all students, staff, faculty members, officers, employees, and affiliates of Teachers College, Columbia University, including extended learning sites, guests, tenants, visitors, contractors, consultants, vendors, individuals authorized by affiliated institutions and organizations, and all others granted use of and/or access to Teachers College, Columbia University technology resources and data.



Members of the TC community should exercise caution to protect TC and personal information relayed via email from unauthorized disclosure. Unauthorized access of email and other electronic communications is prohibited by TC policy and may also violate state and federal law.

The following lists the acceptable use and security measures that one must exercise when using Teachers College email.

  1. Teachers College has established email as the official means of communication with students.  Students are required to activate and use the email address provided by the College. Information on how to do that is located on the TCIT website.

    Teachers College email is where students will receive official communications; students are expected to read email frequently and consistently. A student’s failure to read College communications in a timely manner does not absolve that student from knowing and complying with the content of such communications.
  2. Only a Teachers College or Columbia University email account should be used when conducting College business. The use of personal email accounts to conduct College business, or to represent oneself or one’s enterprises on behalf of the College, is prohibited. Therefore, and in order to ensure archiving of messages sent by employees, email forwarding to a non-TC, non-CU account is prohibited.  Any email forwarded to non-TC accounts can subject personal email account to potential subpoena events.
  3. Employees are expected to keep current with email and with announcements posted on the Message Center in myTC. The Message Center allows users to set preferences so that those messages are delivered as email. An employee’s failure to receive and read College communications in a timely manner does not absolve that employee from knowing and complying with the content of such communications 

  4. Messages sent and received via the College’s email system should be kept as confidential as possible by senders and recipients. Users are reminded that the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires that records relating to students (regardless of form) be treated in accordance with the Student Records and Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Statement.

  5. No email may be sent or forwarded through a College system or network for purposes that violate College or University policies or for an illegal or criminal purpose. Nuisance email or other online messages such as chain letters or obscene, harassing, offensive, or other unwelcome messages are prohibited. Such email should be reported to the Service Desk.

  6. Employees of the College who choose to synchronize TC email or other information with a mobile device must promptly report any loss or theft of the device to the Teachers College Service Desk via email to or by telephone to 212-678-3300 , or by contacting the cellular carrier to request that all content be cleared from the device. In addition, TC strongly recommends that all mobile devices require an authentication method enabled, such as password or biometrics such as fingerprint or face recognition. Note that this is part of the Terms and Conditions for Use of Teachers College G Suite.

  7. Confidential and/or sensitive information (e.g., SSN, credit card, grades, medical information) must not be sent by email.

  8. All messages must show the genuine sender information (i.e., from where and from whom the message originated). Users may not impersonate other users or user groups, real or fabricated, by modifying email header information in an effort to deceive the recipient(s); e.g., email spoofing is specifically prohibited.

  9. Improper use of email (e.g., mass or commercial messages; messages that contain malicious links or attachments) is prohibited. To prevent the spread of this type of email, the College may filter, refuse and/or discard these messages. 
  10. TC email may not be used for commercial or solicitation purposes unrelated to studies or work at Teachers College or its affiliate institutions.

  11. Employee email is archived for 10 years in accordance with the Teachers College Document Retention Policy.

  12. The intentional abuse of email privileges may result in disciplinary actions, suspension, and/or termination. Unauthorized attempts to read another person's email will be treated as a serious violation of the College’s Acceptable Use of Information Technology policy.

  13. Active Students or Alumni who are employees who are terminated for cause may have their TC Gmail account disabled and have a replacement UNI generated with a new TC Gmail account.  Arrangements can be made in coordination with the employee’s former supervisor and HR for any request to retrieve personal information from a disabled account.

Responsible Office: Teachers College Information Technology

Effective Date: October 1, 2020

Last Updated: July 13, 2020

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