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Personal use vs company use of PSU email and PSU computers

February 04, 2019 / PSU-AAUP

Before I held this union position (VP Academic Freedom and Grievances), I only ever used one email address -- my one-- and I never thought twice about storing family photos and videos on my PSU-issued laptop.  My email was my email; my computer was my computer. I had friends who also worked here at PSU who would switch to personal email accounts when we discussed non-PSU topics and I always thought, yes, that’s smart, I should do that, too, but I never did.

I DO NOW. In this position, I have seen how colleagues can come under investigation for one reason and end up losing their job for another, after their computers are searched and material that violates the acceptable use policy is discovered. PSU-AAUP fights like hell for people and we are successful more often than we aren’t BUT we need to warn you all not to become inadvertent victims of your own email or equipment.

You won’t be fired for using your pdx email for some degree of personal use but do know that it is not private and is always potentially searchable. Do also know messages deleted from a pdx account still exist and are traceable. See email communication policy.  Also know that use of PSU-issued equipment, like your computer, cannot violate the acceptable use policy.

And, remember, if you want to contact me about a concern about the University and you want to keep our conversation private, write me at from your own non-pdx email.

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