Can Colleges Read My Email?

Can Colleges Read my Email: Do colleges monitor student emails?

Can colleges read my email is a question many students on universities across the U.S. ask. The answer may surprise many readers but the answer to the above question is yes. University email privacy has become a much more of a concern as of late. Your college has the ability to read your emails that are contained in the email system they have provided you. We repeat, universities can read your email. Again colleges can check your email! This can only occur in select situations. Of course there are certain defenses, depending on the situation, which an individual could raise against such apparently obvious breaches of data privacy as a school reading a students email. Students may argue that the unique relationship between a university and a student is in such a manner that students should have a higher degree of privacy than what is observed between that of a employee and employer. Generally, an employer can freely access their employees work email, and there is considered a lower protecting of privacy because the employee works for the employer. However, a student does not work for their university (technically, one would think the opposite would be true, with students paying thousands of dollars for a similar education that their parents paid nearly pennies for, but that is a different discussion).

Can Colleges Read My Email: Is it Legal For Universities To Check My Email?

Nevertheless according to an Eastern District of Pennsylvania court case Reichert v. Elizabethtown College, 2011 WL 3438318, as long as a college provided the email system, and if they have cause for searching an email, than it is to a certain extent legal. Federal laws do prohibit a provider of an email or other electronic communications services from disclosing contents of emails however, one can always consent. This consent is generally given when a user signs up and uses a university email. That long terms of service that you ignored when signing up likely included your consent to let the university search your email if necessary. Most universities tend to put such legal terminology under their “University Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy”. Under such policies the school can really only search a students email if there is a violation of state, federal, administrative law, or school regulations and policies. Or if the university believes that there is an emergency need, or there is a need to preserve the health and public safety.

Can Colleges Read My Email: What Should I Do If My University Can Read My Email?

Therefore, it is advisable that one use their school email only for school related matters and perhaps a private email for other extracurricular activities. This article is not to create fear or panic.  Schools are wary of searching emails because of potential lawsuits due to a breach of privacy, especially if that breach of privacy occurred on behalf of the university without appropriate cause. However, it is still, from a legal protection perspective best to have a private email along with a college email. Not only will it provide additional protection from the university itself, but it might provide additional protection if a university server is breached or passwords taken. If you want to know students rights in their college dorm check out our article here!

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