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This update from Professor Andy Neely was sent directly to Cambridge staff by email on Thursday 5 May 2022.

Dear all,

As Chair of the University’s Information Services Committee, I wrote to you in December 2021 with news about a new University policy on the allocation and management of email addresses. This relates to all email addresses that end in ….cam.ac.uk including those in College or departmental subdomains such as @trin.cam.ac.uk, @medschl.cam.ac.uk. 

We ran a survey on the principles and main recommendations of the new policy earlier this year, and over 1500 people from across collegiate Cambridge submitted responses. We are extremely grateful to everyone who took the time to respond, and in particular for the many detailed, thoughtful and constructive comments that we received. These will be of immense help in designing the final shape of the new policy and ensuring that it meets the needs of the collegiate University. 

Survey results 

While the survey feedback was detailed and wide-ranging, a number of questions emerged as general concerns: 

  • How the policy proposals relate to the management of College and departmental subdomains; 
  • Whether emeritus University Teaching Officers will be automatically eligible for email addresses; 
  • How academics can remain contactable by former colleagues/students. 

All of these issues will be explored further during the detailed phase of the policy development, and we will take into account the granular feedback on these and other issues that we received from survey respondents. 

Next steps 

There are two aspects to the next stage of the work: developing the policy in detail, and putting in place the technical solutions, processes and personnel needed to implement it.  

Given the complexity of the email landscape at Cambridge – reflected in the survey feedback – and the need to get this policy right, we plan to continue the policy development during the academic year 2022-23, with the expectation that any changes arising from the policy will come into effect in the academic year 2023-24. 

Policy principles and rationale 

There is a detailed overview of what is being proposed and why it is needed on the email policy webpage but I would like to take this opportunity to underline some key principles. 

The policy is intended to ensure that those who have a legitimate connection to the collegiate University, whether through academic or administrative work, have the email access they need to perform their duties – including beyond retirement. There are a great many people in the collegiate University who make exceptionally valuable contributions to teaching, research and administration without being in paid employment, and Routes B and C of the policy as currently designed are intended to make sure that these people continue to have the email access they need. Indeed, by formalising the procedures governing that access, the policy may make it easier for these people to keep their email address, given that in the current ad hoc system it is often difficult to know who to go to with requests, and equally often difficult for IT staff to know how to support these requests. 

At the same time, the policy will ensure that those who do not (or no longer) have a legitimate connection to the University are not able to benefit from an email address and the associated access to the University’s reputation and resources. At present, with no formal policy governing the allocation of email addresses, it is very hard to know how many people have access to our systems and resources. This is a risk for our cyber-security, and it is also a significant potential problem for our relationships with external funders and other bodies, who increasingly require evidence that we have robust security and management procedures in place.  

Future communications 

Updates on the progress of this policy will be posted on the email policy webpage, with significant milestones communicated by email and in The Reporter

Best wishes

Andy 

Professor Andy Neely
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Business and Enterprise and Chair of the Information Services Committee

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