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E-mail as Official Communication for Students

Electronic mail (e-mail), like postal mail, is a mechanism for official College communication with students. The College will exercise the right to send e-mail communications to all students, and will expect that students will read them in a timely manner.


This policy applies to all matriculated students of Carleton College. Official communications using e-mail can include e-mail to a group, such as all students enrolled in a course, or an e-mail message to only one student.


All students are assigned an official Carleton College email address and official College communications will be sent to this email address. The official Carleton email address for each student is listed in the official College directory.

The College provides several mechanisms so that a student may access his/her official Carleton email account on and off campus. A student may also choose to forward his/her email from his or her official Carleton email address to another email address of his/her choice. A student who chooses to forward email to another email address does so at his or her own risk. Carleton College is not responsible for email forwarded to any other email address. Official communications demand attention, and often a timely response. For example, communications may refer to matters that are essential for safety or academics. Students are responsible for the failure to receive, or act upon, official communications.


Students are expected to check e-mail frequently and regularly in order to stay current with College-related communications, recognizing that certain communications may be time-critical. It is recommended that e-mail be checked daily, but at a minimum, twice per week. Regular e-mail management will also minimize the risk that the inbox will be full, causing the e-mail to be returned to the sender with an error. Undeliverable messages returned due to either a full inbox or use of a "spam" filter will be considered delivered without further action required of the College.

Students on off-campus study programs approved by the college are expected to check their email as regularly as time and facilities permit. In cases where the student is away from internet access for more than a week at a time, the student should set their "away message" using procedures described on the ITS website. If an urgent situation arises while the student has an away message set, every attempt will be made to contact the student through other means.


Official College communications sent by e-mail are subject to the same public information, privacy and records retention requirements and policies as other official College communications.


Faculty members retain autonomy in determining how e-mail or other forms of electronic communication will be used in their classes. Faculty may expect that students are checking e-mail regularly, and faculty may use e-mail for their courses accordingly. Faculty should inform students in the course syllabus of any special or unusual expectations for electronic communication. Under normal circumstances, students can expect faculty to be reachable through email. If a faculty member prefers not to communicate with students through email, he/she should inform the students of this in the course syllabus and provide information about his/her preferred form of communication.

If students and faculty are using e-mail to communicate with each other, they should use the provided Carleton address. The exchange of personal addresses requires unnecessary maintenance that can be avoided by a one-time set up of e-mail forwarding.


The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is responsible for the implementation of this policy. For assistance with e-mail, contact the ITS Helpdesk in the first floor lab wing of the CMC (x5999). For questions about faculty use of e-mail, contact the Dean of the College Office. For questions about the policy or issues related to a student's failure to comply with this policy, contact the Dean of Students Office.

Adopted 4/07

Last revised August 6, 2014
Keywords: e-mail, communication, electronic

Last Reviewed: Oct 12th, 2015

Maintained by Information Technology Services