Mass Email to UMD Students

Policy:  Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Life

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Life (VCSL) is responsible for the  review and approval of requests for mass emails to students. The procedures for approval are described in this website.

Mass emails are defined as the distribution of a single email to many recipients. In this instance, "many'' means hundreds or thousands of students. Mass emails require prior approval in order to limit the amount of email sent to students and to control "spam." VCSL will use the following principles (provided in University Relations guidance) in making determinations about the approval of mass email requests. 

  • The email must pertain to a majority of the desired recipients.
  • The message must assist in or support the recipients' ability to conduct their business or education at the University.
  • The information should be deemed critical enough to distribute to the entire [requested] audience.

Use of other campus technologies is encouraged for the dissemination of important information. The following list provides examples of the types of information that might be provided to students through the Bulldog Update and other electronic media.

  1. Items related to health and wellness of students
  2. Campus-wide events
  3. Promotions for student organization events and fundraisers
  4. Job, volunteer, or leadership opportunities

Students have the right to suppress the release and use of their personal information, including their University of Minnesota email address, for all uses other than official university business by school officials (as defined in the UMN Board of Regents Policy: Student Education Records (PDF)). Best practices and professional judgment must be used to balance student privacy rights and the intent to communicate important university business.

Mass emails are categorized in two ways: 1) targeted emails, and 2) all-student emails.

Targeted Emails

Targeted emails are defined as those sent to a subset of the student body to achieve a specific purpose for that group of students. Examples include students living on campus or graduating students. Since email is an established official means of communication with UMD students, certain campus offices use email to send notices that constitute official university business to targeted groups of students.

Survey invitations to students through email are approved for surveys that are conducted and/or sponsored by a university department, considered official university business. Departments must follow the UMD Survey Protocol available on the Institutional Research website.

Targeted emails (with the exception of the offices noted below) must be submitted to the office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Life for approval. Targeted emails will be approved if they are deemed to be official university business relevant to the targeted students identified.

All-Student Emails

All-student emails (with the exception of the offices noted below) must be submitted to the office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Life for approval. All-student emails are defined as those sent to every registered student at UMD or every undergraduate student. As such, all-student emails must be of interest to every student, and must provide information necessary to them. The following list provides examples of appropriate uses of all-student emails that will be approved.

  1. Alerts and notification of emergencies and concerns related to safety and security
  2. Notification of policies (examples: payment, student health insurance requirements)
  3. Mandatory disclosures (examples: annual student's "right to know" notification, annual Drug-Free schools notification)
  4. Survey invitations (examples: NSSE, Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction) sponsored by the University
  5. Unusual exceptions that are determined to be mission-critical and time-sensitive, and come through the Chancellor or Vice Chancellors
  6. Notice of important University business deadlines


Requests to send a targeted student email or an all-student email should be submitted to the ITSS online request form. Information Technology Systems and Services (ITSS) will send the email request to the VCSL office for their review and determination as to whether the information should go into the Bulldog Update or be sent as a separate mailing. If approved as a mass email, the request will be sent to the Office of the Registrar for their FERPA ruling. Once needed approvals are received, ITSS will create the student subset that has been requested. These approvals could take 2-3 working days. Questions should be directed to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Life.

NOTE: Departments that have access to Salesforce are still required to follow these guidelines and must request approval from VCSL before sending mass emails through Salesforce.

The following offices are delegated the authority for sending official communication to students for their offices without the need for prior approval from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Life:

  • Chancellor and Vice Chancellor Offices
  • Collegiate Units
  • Development Office
  • Financial Aid
  • Graduate School
  • Registrar
  • Student Accounts Receivable
  • University Marketing and Public Relations
  • University of Minnesota Duluth Police

July 17, 2023:  Reviewed by the Chancellor's Senior Leadership Staff

August 3, 2012: Approved by the Chancellor's Cabinet