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Colleagues,

We write to give you advance notice of an action the University must take that may result in your receiving more email you do not expect or may not want.

Some months ago, the University received a public records request from an individual for the university email addresses of all faculty members. We had not received such a request before, so this required careful consideration and legal advice. We concluded that University email addresses (those ending in @uw.edu) are public records subject to the Public Records Act and must be provided to the requestor. Since the original request arrived, several subsequent requests for faculty email addresses have been received, and based on our determination, the email addresses of faculty will be provided to those requestors as well.

We should point out that for the vast majority of you, your email addresses are already public — on the University’s main directory available on the web, as well as from many departmental directories that publish faculty email addresses. Those addresses could be copied and compiled, or even “scraped” from lists, but this new dimension of requesting the addresses as public records will make it easier for someone to send messages to all of you.

We do not know for what purpose the information may be used, and requestors are not required to disclose it. The law says they may not be used for commercial purposes, and we require requestors to certify they will comply with this provision. For security purposes and because we recently informed you we had not released contact information to the faculty unionization campaign, or any other entities, we felt it necessary to apprise you of this recent development.

We recognize this may burden your inboxes even further, and we sympathize with the high-volume of communications faculty already receive. However, as unfortunate as this may be, we have no choice but to take our obligations under the Public Records Act seriously.

We recommend that you make sure your anti-virus software and malware protections are updated and active. UW-IT has a number of tools and resources available for security and managing your UW NetID that we hope you will review: https://itconnect.uw.edu/security/.

Sincerely,

Image of Ana Mari Cauce's signature Jerry Baldasty's signature
Ana Mari Cauce Jerry Baldasty
President
Professor of Psychology 
Interim Provost & Executive Vice President
Professor of Communication