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Security, Requesting an Out of Office Message on a Mailbox Not Currently Monitored

Explanation of policy and procedures to set an out of office message on another person's email.


When someone has left the university or is unavailable for an extended period, units may wish to have an out of office message added to that user’s mailbox with instructions on who to email instead.  Since no one is permitted to access that person’s mailbox without prior authorization, this must be handled through other methods.

Any questions not answered in this article should be directed to

When an employee is unavailable for an extended time, whether due to medical reasons or because they are no longer employed at the university for whatever reason, emails that were initially sent to this person might need to be directed to someone else. Whenever possible we highly recommend asking the employee to set these messages prior to their departure to avoid the need to use this process. 

Since campus policy requires prior approval to accessing someone’s email, it is beneficial to be able to set an auto reply message, or out of office message, so senders will receive a notice of where the email should be directed instead.

Campus Policy

It is a violation of campus policy for unit personnel, including unit heads, to ask or instruct any individual to retrieve another person's data, or give any other person access to that data without the express consent of the authorized campus administrative officer.

Unless required by law or by authorized administrative approval to do otherwise, campus and unit-level administrators will not examine the contents of electronic messages or files and will make every reasonable effort to protect them from unauthorized inspection.

-Campus Administrative Manual, fo-07 (APPROPRIATE USE OF COMPUTERS AND NETWORK SYSTEMS), Paragraph VI (B)

"Examination of Contents of Electronic Messages and Files"

What is the process for requesting an auto reply message?

To submit such a request, go to and complete the form provided. This will notify the appropriate person (Dean of the College or equivalent, as specified on the form) for their approval.

What happens after the request is approved?

Once the request is approved, the form will be sent to Security for final approval and processing. 

As mentioned in the form, the out of office message that will be added is:

  • "Please be aware that this email address is not being monitored at this time; please resend your message to {alternate email}"

where {alternate email} will be replaced by the email address listed in the form for the person who will be handling emails in the mailbox owner’s absence.

Related Questions

If an out of office message is urgently needed for business reasons, and they are sick, on vacation, or otherwise unavailable, is it acceptable for the employee's supervisor to request the change without going through the approval process outlined above?

  • No. The approval process remains the same.

What can we do to help avoid having to go through the approval process?

  • We discourage units from directing a unit email intake address (e.g. "") to a single person's email.  Rather, direct the email to a distribution group so that more than one person receives the unit's inbound email.

What if we would like a different out of office message than the default?

  • Because of privacy concerns, the out of office message cannot contain any information about *why* the person is not currently available to process incoming emails, so the generic, standard message is used instead.

For additional help, please email

Keywordsdeceased, passed, away, former, employee, ex-employee, sick, disabled, leave, access, email, files, folders, out-of-office, disclosure, request for access, request for data access, ooo   Doc ID129917
OwnerSecurity S.GroupUniversity of Illinois Technology Services
Created2023-07-24 16:15:45Updated2024-01-03 11:03:42
SitesUniversity of Illinois Technology Services
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