Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis | Groups

Guiding Principles for the Use of Email at Olin

Official University Policies
Nothing in these guidelines is intended to conflict with the Washington University Computer Use Policy, the Washington University Policy on Sexual Harassment, and all other appropriate policies.

Professional conduct should guide use.
Because staff, faculty, and student users of our email system send email as representatives of the Washington University and Olin School community, they are expected to conduct all use of the system according to professional standards, common courtesy, and common sense.

Guidelines apply to all email users.
These policies apply to faculty, staff, and students equally.

Guidelines are not meant to be unduly restrictive.
It is not the intent of these regulations to interfere with or restrict private communications between individuals. Nor is it the intent of these policies to deny access to recognized student organizations and related student service departments who wish to announce upcoming events that may be of interest to members of the School community.

For these policies, "use of interest to the School" and "University business" shall not prohibit or restrict use of the email system in non-profit communication on one's own time when that use is consistent with broader interests of the School to create well-informed, knowledgeable citizens who participate in the culture beyond the School.

Provision of Email Services

Account Eligibility
Olin faculty, staff, and students receive email accounts on the University email ssytem which is hosted in Microosft's Office 365 service. 

Email users have the ability and right to use email:

  • For personal communication.
  • For non-profit community, academic, or social interactions.
  • For their own explorations, research, or investigations of the media, to gather information for personal non-profit use, or for the user's expansion of social presence or expertise. Such uses include participation in non-academic listserv lists, and lists unrelated to the user's discipline.
  • To petition elected representatives.
  • To conduct professional interactions that do not directly result in financial gain. Permitted interactions include those surrounding job searches and applications; and interactions leading to consulting, publishing, and like scholarly activities that fall under the normal and established guidance of University policies. When such interactions become for-profit, participants should immediately find an alternative medium of communication or access.

Email users are prohibited from using email:

  • To initiate or propagate chain letters.
  • To send spams, floods, or mail bombs either locally or on the Internet at large. This includes sending repeated, unwanted email to another user. For purposes of this policy, official communications from the School to all email users is not considered to be spam.
  • For personal financial gain and for non-University related for-profit business.
  • To announce garage sales, or to advertise events or items for sale or rent that result in personal financial gain or revenue for non University departments, programs, or unapproved organizations. Individuals are allowed to send these types of messages, however, to the Open Lists, as long as the items are personal items that the user is selling. For example, a student may send a note stating they have a course book for sale; however, a student who owns a bookstore may not send out a note saying they have books for sale at their store. Similarly, it is OK for a student to send a note that their house is for sale, whereas it would not be OK for a student who is also a realtor to send out a note about houses they are selling for a third-party.
  • To send unsolicited messages to unwilling participants advocating support of or opposition to referendum proposals or the election of particular candidates for public office at the federal, state, or local level.
  • For purposes that do not conform to the Washington University Computer Use Policy, the Washington University Policy on Sexual Harassment, and all other appropriate policies.

Monitoring, privacy, and other issues:

  • The School may periodically send messages to all email users announcing various school events. Users may not opt out of these mailings.
  • Libel laws and harassment related prohibitions apply to the use of email.
  • Email transmissions using a password are assumed to be initiated by the password's user, though managers of email systems who investigate complaints shall not automatically assume that the author of an offending transmission is the password's user.
  • The School will not filter or restrict in-coming email messages in any way. Please note, however, that Microsoft automatically filters and removes messages that contain malware or are identified as phishing or otherwise malicious messages. If unsolicited or unwanted internet transmissions are received, email users may contact their mail system manager for advice so that an effort can be made to ensure that such transmissions do not reoccur from the same source.
  • As the monitoring and regulating incoming Internet transmissions is difficult and costly, and in keeping with academic freedom, email transmissions will not be monitored without good cause, and all monitoring will be in compliance with Federal and State privacy laws.
  • In keeping with Federal law governing privacy, email managers and network system administrators will not intentionally access the content of email messages except as necessary to ensure proper system operation and security, and if such content is accessed, it will be treated as private and confidential. Any inspection of the content of email files, and any action based upon such inspection, shall be governed by applicable federal and state laws and by University policies.


Data files and messages traversing the Olin network are not completely private.
Olin reserves its right, as owner of the network and the computers in question, to examine, log, capture, archive, and otherwise preserve or inspect any message transmitted over the network and any data files stored on University-owned computers. All users must recognize that electronic communications are by no means secure, and that during the course of ordinary management of computing and networking services, network administrators may inadvertently or be required to view user files or messages. In addition, if a user is suspected of violations of University policies or guidelines regarding computer and email use, that user's privacy is superseded by the University's requirement to maintain the network's integrity and the rights of all network users. In the event of criminal or legal investigations, Olin may also be required to provide copies of email messages to the appropriate authorities.


Reporting Complaints
Complaints by any user receiving electronic transmissions, or complaints concerning any other violation of these policies, may be submitted to the Manager for Networking & Operations.

Minor Infractions
Minor infractions of these policies, when accidental are generally resolved informally. Administration may contact the party or parties involved through electronic mail informing them of the infraction, or may schedule in person discussion and education sessions to revolve the infraction. Every attempt will be made to resolve the infraction at this level and to prevent further infractions.

Repeated Infractions and Serious Misconduct
Repeated minor infractions or serious misconduct may result in the temporary loss of computer access privileges or the modification of those privileges to prevent the party or parties from further violations pending appropriate action. Offenders will be referred to their sponsoring advisor, department, employer, or other appropriate University office for further action. If the individual is a student, the matter may be referred to the Office of Student Affairs for disciplinary action. Temporary or permanent loss of computer access privileges may result, as determined by the appropriate disciplinary overseers. (More serious violations include, but are not limited to unauthorized use of computer resources, attempts to steal passwords or data, unauthorized use or copying of licensed software, repeated harassment, or threatening behavior.)

Any offense which violates local, state, or federal laws may result in the immediate loss of all University computing privileges and the offence will be referred to appropriate University offices and/or law enforcement authorities. If necessary, such instances may result in the suspension of computing service until the matter is resolved. Users are advised that anyone who tampers with computer equipment, computer software, or computer data may be subject to civil and/or criminal penalties.

Users may appeal any decision to the Dean of the School of Business.