Network and Email Accounts | Policies

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Network and Email Accounts

Policy regarding provision, maintenance, and termination of network and email accounts at TC.

Owner: Information Technology


Network and email accounts provide access to department file shares, email, financial, personnel, student, and institutional information in the College’s enterprise information systems.  The permission levels granted to an account determine what files and records can be viewed, modified, and/or deleted by that account.  For these reasons, administration of accounts and associated permission levels must be done in accordance with clearly-defined and documented procedures.




  • Network Account: Active Directory account issued by Teachers College; used by end users to log into TC-managed computers, the TC Secure Wi-Fi, as well as to access department file shares, and to join the TC network from off-campus via VPN (Virtual Private Network).
  • UNI: University Network Identifier; issued by Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT); used by end users for access to Teachers College and Columbia network resources via Single Sign-On (SSO), as well as their TC Gmail address (



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.



When creating, modifying and/or deleting accounts and access privileges, the procedures in this document must be followed. The use of the College’s technology resources must conform to the Acceptable Use of Information Technology policy.


1  Student Accounts

Admitted students are provided with a UNI account and prompted to activate it on the Columbia University IT (CUIT) “Manage My UNI” page.

Accounts will be deactivated for admitted students who have not registered for a course in the first 90 days of the term of admission.

Students who graduate may keep their TC Gmail accounts. Students who take a credit course and do not graduate nor register again may continue to use their TC Gmail accounts for 5 terms following the end of the term for which they last registered for a credit course.

Students who are dismissed or disciplined may have their access to all TC digital resources revoked.

Unless privileges are suspended, the UNI remains active for access to the myTC portal (with privileges therein based on their active, inactive, alumni, and/or employee status).


2  Staff Accounts

Teachers College employees are assigned a Columbia University Network Identifier (UNI), a TC Network account, and a TC Gmail account.

Before any account can be created for a new employee or contractor, the individual must submit an Application for Access to Information to Human Resources, which confirms agreement to abide by information handling and computing policies.

Once the UNI and Network Accounts are created, to complete the activation process for each account, the following steps are taken:

  1. UNI: The employee will need to activate their UNI on the Columbia University IT (CUIT) “Manage My UNI” page. Once activated, the employee can log into the myTC portal, and use to log into their TC Gmail account.
  2. Network Account: The Service Desk will notify the employee in person to provide them a temporary Network Account password. After that employee first logs into a TC-managed computer using their Network Account, they will be required to reset their password.


3   Student/Employee Accounts

Students that are hired at TC are expected to use their existing UNI and TC Gmail account to perform their job responsibilities. 

All student employees are expected to sign the Application for Access to Information and submit it to Human Resources; once complete, they are assigned a Network Account with access to any digital resources required for the position.

In the event of termination of employment, the student’s Network Account will be disabled. The Student’s UNI and TC Gmail account will remain active unless employment was terminated for cause.

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 student employee’s former supervisor and HR for any request to retrieve personal information from a disabled account.


4  Account Changes

  1. Employee Change of Position
  2. Request for UNI Change

If an employee has transferred to a new job, a completed electronic Personnel Action Form (ePAF) is given to Human Resources. Human Resources sends a Transfer Notice to TCIT. The TCIT Service Desk removes all permissions not required for the new position from the employee’s TC Network account.

The new supervisor or new Department’s TCIT Liaison emails the TCIT Service Desk with any requests for new permissions (e.g., delegate mailboxes or network folders). The request is reviewed and details confirmed as needed with the requesting department. Once done, a confirmation email is sent to the supervisor or Liaison. These emails are archived.

As a rule, TC does not change UNIs by request. Once a UNI has been assigned, it is propagated to many systems throughout TC and CU. Changing a UNI is labor-intensive and requires multiple departments and resources to update their systems. 


Requests for changes to a UNI will not be granted, except in the following cases upon request:

  1. Legal Name change, resulting in a change to the initials represented in the UNI
  2. Letters in the UNI can reasonably be interpreted as obscene or offensive


In order to request a UNI change, a TC community member should submit an Incident to the TC Service Desk, answering the following questions:

  1. What is your assigned UNI?
  2. Why would you like it changed?
  3. In the event of a legal name change, has the appropriate request been submitted to the Human Resources or Registrar Departments?  No legal name change will be honored unless changed by the HR department.
  4. What specific letters, numbers, or number combinations are problematic (if any)?


Requests for UNI changes must be approved by the Chief Information Officer (CIO). If a UNI change is approved, TC can satisfy letter requests, but specific numbers cannot be requested.



5  Account Termination

All employees’ Network Accounts are disabled at the end of the last day of employment unless directed otherwise directed by HR. After 30 days, the account is deleted.

Employees who are TC alumni or current students will retain their email address, but will be stripped of all employee Google Group and Shared Drive memberships.

Email accounts will be disabled for employees who are not alumni or current students at the end of the last day of employment unless directed otherwise directed by HR. The disabled account is stripped of all group memberships and cannot be accessed by the former employee. 

Requests for exceptions to account termination policies must be approved in writing by the Vice President of Finance and Administration or Provost, in accordance with the annual financial audit guidelines.


Responsible Office: Teachers College Information Technology

Effective Date: February 1, 2021

Last Updated: January 15, 2021

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