New policy requires U employees to use approved email systems

On March 29, 2019, the Utah Board of Higher Education instituted Rule R840 that requires all Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) institutions, including the University of Utah, to collect and maintain business email communications in the institutions’ enterprise email systems. The rule was created to provide greater security, auditability, records management, document preservation, personnel actions, archiving and destruction, and other protections as appropriate.

To comply with Rule R840, the U’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) led a process for drafting and seeking approvals for the university’s specific policy, which resulted in University Employee Individual Email Policy 4-010. The policy was vetted and approved by the U’s Strategic IT Committee, Institutional Policy Committee, Council of Academic Deans, Senate Advisory Committee on IT, Senate Executive Committee, and Academic Senate.

On August 10, 2021, the Board of Trustees approved the policy, which went into effect immediately.

Policy 4-010 requires the University’s trustees and all University of Utah and University of Utah Health employees, including student employees, to use only official enterprise email systems to conduct institutional business by email. The policy applies to any email communication that a trustee, faculty, staff member sends or receives in their official role at the university.

Robert Payne, deputy general counsel in OGC, said “this policy will bring the University into compliance with the Board of Higher Education’s requirements and will allow the University to better track, retain and when necessary produce the University’s business email communications.”

Guideline 4-010 lists the University’s current enterprise email systems including:

Forwarding a business-related email from a university-approved email service to an external email service such as personal Gmail or iCloud, or using the “send from a different address” function within an external email service to make an email appear to come from a university-approved email system, is strictly prohibited.

Next steps to ensure compliance with USHE Rule R840:

  • Departments, colleges, and other U organizations that run local email servers should contact UIT as soon as possible to establish a transition plan and comply-by date. Local IT staff should open a ticket directed to the UMail and Collaboration team by calling 801-581-4000, option 1, emailing helpdesk@utah.edu, or submitting a ticket via ServiceNow (authentication required) and selecting UIT – NCI – UMail & Collaboration from the Assignment Group drop-down.Note: If a “@department.utah.edu” email address runs on an approved UMail system, it complies with this policy, and no further action is required. If you’re unsure about your org’s case, please contact your local IT support staff.
  • Faculty and staff who forward, receive, or send official U emails to/from non-utah.edu accounts should discontinue these practices immediately to comply with USHE Rule R840. UIT will disable these capabilities on a future date to be broadly announced via @TheU, Pulse, Researcher’s Corner, and other employee mass distribution channels.

Policy 4-010 does not:

  • Govern the retention of email in a university-approved system
  • Apply to mass email marketing platforms (e.g., “This Week @theU” newsletter distribution and communications to athletics and fine arts ticket holders)
  • Apply to non-email methods of electronic communication (e.g., instant messages and persistent chat through such programs as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Slack)

University-related communications may be subject to Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) requests wherever they are stored, including personal accounts and devices.

Limitations on the use of university email systems for purposes other than official university-related business are governed separately by Rule 4-004A Acceptable Use [of IT Resources] and Policy 4-002 Information Resources Policy.

If you have questions, your local IT support staff may be able to assist, or you may contact your respective central help desk: UIT Help Desk (801-581-4000, option 1) or the ITS Service Desk (801-587-6000).