n-ccstudent emails

As part of our Curious Cornhuskers initiative, an anonymous reader asked The Daily Nebraskan, “Who does UNL give access to student emails? How can organizations that are not UNL email every student? Who screens which orgs can email?”

Cheryl O’Dell, the security awareness and incident response manager for UNL’s Information Technology Services, said UNL does not give out student emails unless expressed consent is given by said student. She said the UNL’s Online Privacy Policy prevents any faculty or administration from giving student emails to people outside UNL, except in specific and rare cases. In these cases, consent would need to be given from the student and UNL’s general counsel.

For example, O’Dell said if UNL had to submit a report to a government official regarding graduates who work in a specific program, UNL would need to release the students’ emails.

O’Dell said if students receive emails from an outside organization on their student email account, another site the student used their email for may have sold the email address to a third party. O’Dell said this a common practice of many websites, and students should be careful of what sites they attach their emails to.

As for the screening process UNL uses, O’Dell said UNL uses an online security gateway called Proofpoint. She said Proofpoint catches 90% of spam, viruses and other unwanted emails before they reach students. In reality, she said, students encounter a small percentage of what is actually sent to their inboxes.

“What [we] do is we try to eliminate known threats; we know there are attackers and scams out there, so I also do security awareness,” O’Dell said. “Everyone helps to ensure the security here on campus.”