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/.
|Ana Mari Cauce
Professor of Psychology
|Interim Provost & Executive Vice President
Professor of Communication