In an earlier post, we noted a brouhaha at Harvard in which a dean authorized a search of other deans’ emails to determine if any of them had leaked some information about a cheating scandal. Faculty at Harvard were shocked and appalled that such a search could occur. We noted that at public universities, emails you may think of as private really aren’t. Apparently even at private institutions, the same cautionary note applies, although for other reasons.
Even if you use a private email account such as gmail to send messages to recipients at UCLA or any public university, the messages become part of the public record. Our earlier post on the Harvard affair is at http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2013/03/harvard-is-shocked-and-appalled-that.html
Why mention this episode again? Inside Higher Ed today carries a note that the administrator who authorized the search is stepping down and returning to teaching, an event some see as related to the search. See http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2013/05/29/harvard-deans-departure-spurs-talk-e-mail-dispute.