Macalester College Email Accounts

The mechanism for official Macalester College communication for all community members (faculty, staff, and students) is the email address and account which provides access and privileges for use in connection with all business and instructional activities of the College. As such, these email accounts are the property of Macalester College, not the individual user who is assigned an account and community members are responsible for receiving, reading, complying with and responding to official email communications from the College.

Faculty and Staff

Employees (faculty and staff) may use or distribute a work-related email or other electronically stored information only as is appropriate in the performance of the employee’s work responsibilities. Users of the Macalester email system do not have a right of privacy in communications transmitted or stored on College information technology resources. Thus, the email address should not be used to send or receive personal email that a Macalester community member wants to keep private.


All students are assigned an official Macalester College email address and all official College communications are sent to this email address. A student’s failure to receive or read in a timely manner official communications sent to the student’s official email address does not absolve the student from knowing and complying with the content of the official communication. The procedures for accessing email are published on the ITS website.

Terms of Acceptable Use

Macalester expects individuals to use their assigned email accounts in a manner that does not violate College policy or community standards, violate the privacy rights of its employees and students, discloses confidential information of the College or otherwise detract from or cause harm to the College and/or individuals employed or associated with the College. This prohibition includes any email that violates the law. In addition, Macalester employees may not disguise or fraudulently represent their identity when using the Macalester email system.

Accessing Email Accounts

Macalester has the right and ability to access individual email accounts, despite the fact that a user has established personal login credentials. However, Macalester and its agents or custodians of the email system will not access or disclose the content of an individual’s Macalester email account unless the College has a good faith belief that the terms of acceptable use have been violated. In addition to a good faith belief of a violation, permission must be secured from the appropriate member of leadership designated for each constituency. They are as follows:

Constituency Authorized Leader
Faculty Provost & Dean of Faculty
Backup: Associate Dean of the Faculty*
Students Vice President, Student Affairs
Backup: Dean of Students*
Staff (all others) Director, Employment Services
Backup: VP for Admin and Finance*

*In situations where the authorizers listed above are unable to perform this duty in the manner or time frame needed, an Officer of the College will assume decision authority.  

Examples of Situations That May Constitute Grounds for Access

    • Although not a complete list, the following conditions represent potential situations for access:
    • Suspected violation of the law, regulation, or College policy.
    • Enforceable governmental request, a subpoena, or legal request to which the College is required to respond..
    • Suspected criminal conduct or to protect against harm to the rights, property, or safety of the College, its employees or the public.
    • When information is necessary to conduct College business and the user of the account is unavailable.
    • A health or safety emergency.

    Unacceptable Access to an Individual’s Email Account

    • For any reason other than a suspected violation of the terms of acceptable use, or a safety or emergent situation.
    • Curiosity
    • Permission from authorized leader is not requested or is not given.
    • To bypass engaging an individual in conversation when that individual is available and there is not sufficient evidence to suggest an emergent situation.

    Suspension or Transfer of Access

    If a user is on leave from work, for any reason, a manager may be given access to that individual’s account for business continuation purposes. Whenever possible, arrangements should be made before a leave if the need for access is foreseeable.  Managers will need to demonstrate to the appropriate authorizer why access to a user’s account is warranted and to the extent possible, access will be tailored to the need. Additionally, managers may request and be granted access to an individual’s email account upon termination of employment for business continuation purposes. In these instances, the manager will typically be granted access for a period no greater than one month after an employee’s last day of work. Exceptions will be made on a case by case basis with a compelling rationale. Upon the conclusion of this period, the account and its contents will be terminated.

    Individual Access To Their Macalester Email Account Upon Termination of Employment

    When an individual terminates employment with Macalester, it should be understood that access to an email account to retrieve “personal” information is not guaranteed. While Macalester understands and allows reasonable personal use of its email system, users should take appropriate steps to ensure personal communications are secured/saved as desired.

    If it is necessary or desired that an individual maintain access to their account after termination, approval must first be secured from the appropriate leader identified within this policy. Extension of access should be considered only if a legitimate business need is identified. Extension of use should not exceed three months. In such cases, the individual will be expected to adhere to the terms of acceptable use.   

    In all cases, no person may retain a copy of any private or confidential work-related email or electronically stored information after the termination of employment without the written permission of the identified leader within this policy.
    Macalester College email is hosted and supported by Google Apps. Google has signed a contract committing them to uphold a strict privacy policy and to always treat your personal information with the utmost care and security. See Google’s Privacy Policy and Gmail Program Policies for additional information.