“It’s important to note that your administrator or service provider has access to any data you store in this account, including your email.”
The clear sentence sits on help pages on privacy and security, NYU Local reports. Since 2011, NYU email accounts have been run through Google Apps for education, a program that stores students’ emails, calendars, and documents. Google can hand any data from these student accounts over to universities utilizing the program, but NYU’s Information Technology department holds a strong ethos for protecting student privacy.
According to Marilyn McMillan, NYU’s Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Technology Officer, the school doesn’t access data stored in student or faculty accounts except in special circumstances. “We have a practice of not doing that unless we’re directed to do something specific by the office of legal counsel or by somebody in authority.”The data stays on Google’s servers, and ITS is “very rarely” directed to access it. McMillan could not recall an instance where the content of a student’s email account was accessed as part of a disciplinary procedure. A more typical decision to access student data might be in response to a familial request of a student who has died.