Terms and Conditions for Use of Teachers College G Suite | Policies

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Terms and Conditions for Use of Teachers College G Suite

Terms of service for the use of Teachers College’s Google Workspace environment.

Owner: Information Technology


This policy serves as the College's terms of service for the use of the Teachers College (TC) G Suite for Education service. TC provides the G Suite for Education service, which includes email, document storage, calendar, chat, and other collaboration and productivity applications, to support the educational and administrative activities of the College, and to serve as a means of official communication by and between users and TC. The purpose of these terms of service is to make TC’s community aware of certain obligations when utilizing TC’s G Suite for Education service.



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.



In order to use Google's services as provided to TC, all users of TC’s G Suite for Education must be aware of, agree to, and adhere to the following:

Notice of Privacy

TC grants authorized users access to the TC G Suite for Education platform. TC is the legal owner and operator of all of its information technology systems and owns all of the data that is contained within the G Suite for Education platform.  Access to this platform can be revoked by the Teachers College at any time.  Except where applicable law provides otherwise, users should have no expectation of a reasonable level of privacy while accessing or using the G Suite For Education Platform. 

The College reserves the right to access, inspect, and restrict the use of users’ content data (email messages, file contents) and may exercise such rights for various reasons, including but not limited to:

  • As required by state and federal legal requirements.
  • Likely to provide evidence related to misconduct which is reasonably believed to have violated the law or significantly breached College regulations, policies, or guidelines for security breaches or protection considerations.

All requests to access users’ content data must be submitted to the Office of General Counsel, who will submit the request to the appropriate member of Senior Administration.


Regulated Data

Teachers College-provided G Suite services cannot be used for Payment Card Industry (PCI) credit card data, student loan application information protected under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), or Export Controlled Research as defined by International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

All members of the Teachers College community are responsible for protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data created, received, stored, transmitted, or otherwise used by the College. 

TC reserves the right to restrict the use of Information Technology resources in order to preserve data security or comply with law or policy.

Teachers College and Google have reached an agreement that will allow access to the PHI-certified services and tools in G Suite. This agreement, known as a Business Associate Agreement (BAA), protects PHI in accordance with HIPAA guidelines. For more information, Google has published this article regarding HIPAA compliance. Please note that standard TC G Suite services and tools are NOT HIPAA compliant. Users who need to work with PHI must request a specially configured HIPAA-compliant Google account. This request can be made by contacting the TCIT Service Desk. It is important for users to note that individual data owners/users are still responsible for ensuring that they do not expose PHI or other sensitive data stored in G Suite via the sharing of files/folders. If your data has been classified as PHI (as governed by HIPAA), contact the Office of General Counsel for detailed requirements and assistance.

To secure research data, consult with the TC Institutional Research Board (IRB) and the Information Technology Information Security team.


Data Loss Prevention

Teachers College has the ability to monitor activity to adhere to regulatory compliance requirements and implement security best practices using tools available from Google or third parties.

To prevent exposure of confidential/sensitive data as defined by TC’s Data Classification Policy, Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions are incorporated into TC's G Suite infrastructure to safeguard this data. DLP enables an organization to reduce the risk of unintentional disclosure of sensitive data by identifying, monitoring, and protecting confidential data while in use, in motion, and at rest.

DLP solutions automatically scan TC’s G Suite content and identify instances of sensitive data exposure for further investigation. If a document is detected that contains confidential/sensitive data, a notification will be sent to the document owner explaining how the data has been flagged -- e.g., 'Social Security Numbers' -- and the owner will be provided a link to the document for review. Document owners have the option to open the document to remove any high-risk data elements or report the detection as a “false positive.”


Responsible Office: Teachers College Information Technology 

Effective Date: June 15, 2020 

Last Updated:  June 15, 2020

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