Email Policy


This policy defines Bowdoin College's e-mail retention and usage to ensure that e-mail is properly preserved when needed and deleted when not needed.


This policy applies to all users of the College e-mail.


The Chief Information Officer is responsible for the maintenance of this policy, and for responding to questions.

New E-mail Accounts

1.  HR determines which new employees use the Bowdoin e-mail system and initiates employee e-mail account creation.  E-mail account requests for new employees, casuals and contractors go through HR.

2.  Admissions initiates new student e-mail account creation when the student's deposit is received in April before matriculation.

Usage, Personal Responsibility and Mailbox Quota

1.  E-mail storage is costly and finite.  Users of the Bowdoin College mail server agree to delete unnecessary e-mails routinely to avoid wasting College resources.  Bowdoin e-mail accounts have a size quota of 2 GB.  Exceptions to that size limit may be accommodated if there is a business or academic need approved by the pertinent Senior Officer.  Increase requests should go to with the Senior Officer's approval.

2.  Routine deletion of e-mails should include the following: Inbox, Deleted Items/Trash, Junk/Spam, Sent and Drafts. User-created folders should be    deleted when they are no longer needed.


1.  E-mail on Bowdoin servers belongs to Bowdoin, except when superseded by the College's Intellectual Property Policy. Both active and terminated accounts, under exceptional circumstances, may be disclosed to authorized personnel or external parties, but only as required by customary business practice or law.

2.  Messages sent and received via Bowdoin's e-mail system must be kept confidential by senders and recipients, as well as by College employees and contractors who may have access to these accounts through their customary duties and responsibilities.


1.  E-mail is replicated in real-time to a separate database on a separate disk.  Because back-up files are transitory, users should never consider back-up as an approach to archiving e-mail contents.

2.  Deleted and purged e-mail, if available in a backup copy, may be recoverable if the request for recovery is made no later than 15 days from the date of deletion.

3.  E-mail automatically forwarded (i.e., redirected) to a personal e-mail account (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail) that is not under Bowdoin IT management is excluded from e-mail backup.

Archived E-mail Messages

E-mail messages and attachments that you send or receive in conducting the business of the College are official College records and are subject to the College's records management policies and retention schedules. (See for the College's Records & Archives Management guidelines.)  College e-mail should be kept or deleted based on content, just as you would for comparable paper documents.  (See College Records: Managing Your E-Mail (attachment) for tips on what to keep.)

E-mail servers do not provide a feasible means of archiving e-mail over the long term.  For messages or attachments that require retention, either print those records and file them manually, or follow the e-filing procedures outlined below.

  • Organize e-mail that merits retention by utilizing folders outside your Inbox that have been created for that purpose:

    • For messages that should be kept permanently, file those in your "ArchPerm" folder-the contents of this folder form a part of the permanent College record as determined by records schedules or College Archives appraisal.
    • For messages that have lasting value but will eventually become obsolete (projects, records with auditing requirements), file those in your "ArchTemp" folder-the contents of this folder will be kept indefinitely either until you delete them, their usefulness has passed, or they have met required retention schedules. 
    • For messages that fall outside of formal College records (personal messages unrelated to your work at Bowdoin), delete these or remove them to non-Bowdoin servers as soon as practicable.  For those that you need to keep over time, file those in your "Personal" folder-the contents of this folder will be kept indefinitely until you delete them or until you leave the College's employ.
  • E-mail messages in Deleted Items/Trash/Junk folders should be archived and then purged after 60 days

Graduating Students

1.  If no action is taken by the graduate, his/her account will be deactivated on October 31 of his/her graduation year.  For non-graduates, his/her account will be deactivated within 30 days of the student's date of resignation. 

2.  A graduate may petition to extend his/her account by up to three months by submitting a request to the IT Service Desk.

3.  To renew an extension, a graduate may submit a request to the IT Service Desk prior to the expiration date of the extension that was granted. An extension can be renewed every 3 months.

Employee Terminations

1.  Once the effective termination date has been determined by HR, the e-mail account of a terminated employee is disabled at 5pm on that date. Exceptions to disabling such accounts and the duration of the exceptional extension require approval from Human Resources.

2.  During the employee's transition to termination, IT can provide assistance with the creation of a non-Bowdoin e-mail account if needed, transfer of contents stored in the employee's "Personal" folder, and - if requested by HR - supervisory access to a terminated employee's archived mailbox.

3.  Upon HR's request or approval, the employee's supervisor shall be permitted access to the archived mailbox of a terminated employee for up to one year after the employee's termination date at which time the mailbox will be removed. For members of academic departments, the Dean for Academic Affairs Office must also grant approval and would serve as supervisor.


Delete, purge, archive and back-up e-mail - When you "delete" an e-mail, it is actually only flagged for deletion and remains on the system; at this point, you can still restore it from the Trash folder. Once a deleted message is "purged" from the system (e.g., via a "purge" command, emptying the Trash, or by using the "Erase Deleted Messages" command), it can no longer be undeleted, but it can be retrieved for 15 days by IT from back-ups.


For questions or comments:
Information Security Office
Information Technology


Article ID: 71636
Thu 2/7/19 10:45 AM