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How to manage your voicemail and email messages

UCOP’s new voice system changes how we should handle voicemail. Audio copies of your voicemail messages are now automatically sent to your email inbox, where they can be opened and played. It’s important to know that the two messages are synchronized, and how you manage one – either the voicemail or the audio email copy – affects what happens to the other.

  • If you keep the sync between the two messages – meaning you leave the email copy in your inbox – both will be automatically deleted when you delete one or the other.
  • If you break the sync by moving the audio email copy from the inbox to an email archive folder, you will need to manage the messages separately. This is inconvenient and you may end up storing copies you don’t need.

NOTE: If you don’t find it useful to receive audio copies of voicemail in your email, you can ask the IT Service Desk to turn off that functionality.

Good message management

Messages sent using UC systems – whether email, voicemail, or IM – are university resources. They may be official business records, are potentially subject to the California Public Records Act, and simply may be useful for reference. As stewards of these resources, we need to practice good message management. That means following best practices, adhering to the UC Records Retention Schedule and, depending on the content, deleting or storing messages to facilitate search and retrieval of records.

We’ve compiled some best practices for the UCOP environment, which appear below. More detailed guidance about message management is available in the document, “Managing Electronic Messages as University Records.”

Also, please take a few minutes to read a short overview of how each system handles message deletion and retention. This will help you incorporate good message management into your daily routine. All these links are available from the web page, Electronic Message Management at UCOP.

Best practices

  1. Always be thoughtful about the content and tone of your messages.
  2. Send only necessary messages to reduce volume.
  3. Minimize use of UC messaging systems for non-UC business.
  4. Remember that privacy is not guaranteed.
  5. Keep only those messages necessary for your work, or those considered records in the UC Records Retention Schedule.
    • (“Non-records” should be deleted routinely. Non-records are temporarily useful but have no lasting administrative or operational value.)
  6. Move messages you need to keep to the Outlook Online Archive. (Messages stored on your local hard drive are not backed up.)
  7. Use meaningful email subject lines to facilitate search.
  8. Empty the email Sent, Deleted, and Junk folders frequently.
  9. Keep the sync between voicemail and audio email copies so you can manage them simultaneously, unless the message is a business record that needs to be retained.
  10. Use IM for transitory communications only, rather than business transactions for which you need a record.
    • (IM messages at UCOP are not saved, so IM is not appropriate for conducting business subject to records retention obligations, e.g., approvals).

Keep in mind:

  • California Public Records Act (CPRA) and Other Disclosure Requirements. Messages should be appropriate for a business setting: All messages are potentially subject to disclosure to the public under the CPRA; to any individuals about whom the messages pertain under FERPA or the IPA; and to parties to a lawsuit pursuant to discovery. Messages also can be accidentally or intentionally forwarded to individuals without a “need to know.”
  • Electronic Communications Policy. All messages are subject to the UC Electronic Communications Policy and, in situations allowed by policy, may be accessed without the holder’s consent.
  • Litigation and Other Records Holds. Records holds may be placed on messages when the university (a) anticipates or is involved in litigation, (b) a government investigation has begun, (c) an audit has begun, or (d) a California Public Records Act request has been received. Messages subject to records holds must NOT be deleted until you have been officially notified that the hold has been lifted.


For more information, contact Records Manager Laurie Sletten at (510) 987-9411 or

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