Follow the US CAN-SPAM Act
Much of the email the University sends out is governed by
the Federal CAN-SPAM Act.
Email subject to the CAN-SPAM Act
UD emails that meets one of the following criteria are covered by the
- Email that sells or promotes the sale of tickets for an event (on or off campus).
- Email that promotes the University to prospective students.
- Email that offers a good or service for sale (by the University or by
an individual making the offer with his or her UD email account).
- Email that is sent on behalf of the University by a third party
- Email that promotes for profit or revenue generating activities.
Transactional email is exempt from most of the rules
outlined in the CAN-SPAM Act.
As Michigan State University advises its regional alumni clubs,
A "transactional or relationship message" - email that
facilitates an agreed-upon transaction or updates a customer in
an existing business relationship - may not contain false or
misleading routing information, but otherwise is exempt from
most provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act.
Communications | MSU Alumni Association
Examples of transactional email
are listed below:
- Email receipts
- Official email from the University or from a University
employee that is part of the University's business process:
- HR notices about benefit plan
- Student aid notices
- Registration notices
- Announcments of University events for which admission is
- Course-related email.
The following guidelines are adapted from the US
Federal Trade Commission's website
Accurate email information:
- Don’t use false or misleading header information.
Your “From,” “To,”
“Reply-To,” and routing information
– including the originating domain name and email
address – must be accurate and identify the person or
business who initiated the message.
Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line
must accurately reflect the content of the message.
Identify messages that ask for donations as "solicitations" and
identify messages that adverstise a good or service for sale as
Provide valid return address (email and physical).
- Name of University department sending the campaign
Phone number (optional under the law, but provides extra verification)
- Opt-out requirements:
- Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from
you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous
explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email
from you in the future.
- Honor opt-out requests promptly.
You must honor a
recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days.
- You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give
you any personally identifying information beyond an email
address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending
a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website
as a condition for honoring an opt-out request.
- The opt-out provision does not apply to transactional email sent to current
students, faculty members, or employees.
Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.
Even if you hire another company to handle your email
marketing, you can’t contract away your legal
responsibility to follow the provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act.