Doesn't preventing me from unsubscribing from a UAA dynamic list violate the CAN-SPAM Act?


Information regarding the use of dynamic mailing lists at UAA in accordance to the provisions of the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act.

The short answer is no. For a more detailed explanation please continue reading.

In the U.S. there's a law about sending emails called the CAN-SPAM Act. If an entity is "promoting or advertising a commercial product or service through electronic communication" they have to comply with the law or face some hefty penalties. However, UAA's Acceptable use Policy for Electronic Email clearly states that University provided email accounts may be used to communicate university related information to appropriate individuals including the use of dynamic mailing lists (aka "dyn-list"). This is not considered "spam" by UAA's published Acceptable Use Policy. See the excerpt below.

**** UAA Electronic Mail Policy Excerpt ****

Acceptable Use

UAA provides University e-mail resources for activities and associated administrative functions supporting its mission of learning,discovery, and engagement. [...]

Policies and regulations that apply to other forms of communications at the University also apply to electronic mail.

The following list, although not inclusive, provides some examples of acceptable uses:

  • Communications, including information exchange, for professional development or to maintain job knowledge or skills;
  • Use in apply for or administering grants, or contracts for University research programs or work-related applications;
  • Communications with other University agencies and research partners of university agencies providing document delivery or transferring working documents/drafts for comment;
  • Announcements of University regulations, procedures, policies, services, or activities;
  • Use involving research and information gathering in support of advisory, standards, analysis, and professional development activities related to user's University duties;
  • Communication and information exchange relating to the mission, charter, and work tasks of the University including e-mail indirect support of work-related functions or collaborative projects.

Use of E-mail for UAA business

The Official UA e-mail account shall be considered an official means for communication University business, and may in some cases be the sole means of communication. Users are expected to read, and shall be presumed to have received and read, all official UAA e-mail messages sent to their Official UA e-mail accounts. [...]

Dyn-lists creator/owners, and their appointees may send messages to University dynamic-listserv's relating to University business without any prior approval. The author of any business messages, however, assumes responsibility for assuring that messages do not violate any University policies, regulations, or procedures. Disclaimers of confidentiality included in e-mail messages do not protect the sender if confidential information is shared or disclosed inappropriately.

**** End of Excerpt ****

In order to maintain compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act, which does require a mechanism for opting-out of commercial mailing lists, all UAA dynamic mailing lists should only contain University of Alaska email addresses (e.g., and the footer of every dynamic list should include the disclaimer that the message was sent to the person's University address. Since UAA dynamic lists are only directly sending messages to individuals affiliated with UAA, and only to their University provided email address we are not in violation of either UAA's Acceptable Use Policy, nor the agreements the University of Alaska has with Google in association with its G Suite for Education tenant, or Microsoft in association with its Office 365 for Education tenant.

Need additional help or have issues

For support, requests may be submitted anytime by Requesting Support for the Mailing List service. Support Requests are worked by Priority based on the Impact and Urgency of need as well as the order they are received by the IT Employees with the knowledge and permissions to assist with the request.

For immediate assistance please review the Contact Us page for ways to contact the appropriate support group.

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Article ID: 66
Wed 4/1/20 12:26 PM
Mon 9/11/23 9:37 AM