Third Party Access to University Email Standard | Information Technology | University of Pittsburgh
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Third Party Access to University Email Standard

This standard covers third party access to University email and explains how the University will handle requests for email messages stored in mailboxes on University central and departmental email servers.

Access and Retrieval of Stored Email Messages

University-owned computing equipment, networks, services, and resources, including email, (collectively referred to as the "system"), are provided for the purpose of conducting University-related activities and are therefore considered University property. The University, as owner of such property, has the right to access employee email messages as it deems necessary and appropriate, so employees should not expect individual privacy in using the system.

Pitt Information Technology (Pitt IT), as administrator of Pitt Email (Outlook), the University's email service, will only provide access to email messages stored on central University email servers to individuals other than the person to which a specific mailbox is assigned upon receipt of written approval from the University Office of University Counsel. Units must contact the Office of University Counsel directly to secure such authorization.

Upon receipt of written authorization by the Office of University Counsel, Pitt IT will transfer the requested email messages to CD media that will be provided to the Office of University Counsel or to the party that University Counsel designates to receive those messages.

Forwarding of Email Messages

Pitt IT will not cause email messages to be forwarded to any email address other than the email address to which the message was originally intended by the sender. However, active University students, faculty, and staff have the ability to set a forwarding address for all email messages destined for delivery to mailboxes assigned to them that are located on University central email servers. If an email message is determined to be undeliverable, a notice will be sent to the sender of the message and the message will be discarded.

Pitt IT will not forward email that is sent to the University accounts of terminated faculty or staff members because such email accounts have been provided solely for the purpose of conducting University-related activities. It is the responsibility of the unit administrator or designee to notify parties that send messages relating to University business of a change of email address in situations where the original intended recipient of such messages is no longer affiliated with the University.

Forwarding of Email Messages for Deceased Faculty

University departments are responsible for contacting the 24/7 Help Desk to notify Pitt IT of a faculty member's death and to provide contact information for individuals who will handle correspondence intended for the deceased faculty member. After receiving notification from the department, Pitt IT will discontinue any mail forwarding that may be in place and create an automatic reply message that directs correspondence intended for the deceased faculty member to the designated contacts. The text of the automatic reply message will read as follows:

This email account is no longer active. If your message is a personal matter, correspondence can be directed to [email address/phone number]. If this is a University-related matter, please contact [email address/phone number].

Absent a legal exception, such as a lawfully issued subpoena or a court order, no individuals, including family members, personal representatives, or colleagues, will be granted access to a deceased faculty member's email account because messages stored on that account may contain student information, which is protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).