Information Technology, Documents, & Records

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. 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.

Email Addresses

All students are assigned an official Carleton College e-mail address and official College communications will be sent to this e-mail address. The official Carleton e-mail 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 e-mail account on and off campus. A student may also choose to forward his/her e-mail from his or her official Carleton e-mail address to another e-mail address of his/her choice. A student who chooses to forward e-mail to another e-mail address does so at his or her own risk. Carleton is not responsible for e-mail forwarded to any other e-mail 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.

Expectations Regarding Frequency of Reading Email

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. 

Students on off-campus study programs approved by the College are expected to check their e-mail 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.

Privacy and Confidentiality

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.

Instructional Uses of Email

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 e-mail. If a faculty member prefers not to communicate with students through e-mail, 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.

Implementation and Assistance

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 Office of the Provost. For questions about the policy or issues related to a student’s failure to comply with this policy, contact the Office of the Provost.

Last Revised: August 6, 2014

Adopted 4/07

For: Faculty, Students

Last Reviewed: April 11, 2019

Maintained by: Information Technology Services