Understanding Email Forwarding and Third Party Access to University Email

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This standard covers third party access to University email, out of office requests, and explains how the University will handle requests for email messages stored in University owned mailboxes.



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 (Microsoft Exchange), 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 for business continuity purposes, and with appropriate approval.   

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 or individual messages. This is because of our Acceptable Use policy and messages stored on that account may contain sensitive information, which is covered under various protections, such the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).


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 Technology 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. 

For alumni and emeritus faculty accounts, you must provide the documentation (examples include Executor of Will or Estate, Power of Attorney) of your legal right to request an out of office on behalf of the deceased or incapacitated.

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].

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Article ID: 71
Tue 7/18/23 1:48 PM
Wed 7/17/24 2:00 PM

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