Google Groups: Managing a Group

Guidelines for Google Group Managers

The University of Minnesota and Google have negotiated contract terms and conditions that protect the privacy and confidentiality of University student, faculty, staff, and alumni data placed in Google Apps for the University of Minnesota.

As a result, users may use Google Apps for the University of Minnesota to conduct University activities that are aligned with their role at the University, provided they do so in accordance with the University's Acceptable Use Policy and according to the restrictions outlined below for certain types of data.

In this Article:

Groups may not be used:

  • for unsolicited mass mailings;
  • to promote commercial products, services, or organizations; or
  • for purposes which violate University policies, local ordinances, or state or federal laws.

Private Data

Data protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is permitted in Google Apps for the University of Minnesota, provided information is shared only between the student and those who have a legitimate education-related interest as defined by the University's Managing Student Records policy. Sending student information through emailing the Google Group could be a FERPA violation. 

Data protected by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and Protected Health Information (PHI) data are not permitted in Google Apps for the University of Minnesota.

For these reasons, export controlled data is not permitted in Google Apps for the University of Minnesota.

Group Manager Role

The primary manager of a group is responsible for day-to-day monitoring and operation of the group. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • deleting members whose addresses are no longer valid;
  • serving as the initial point of contact for members with questions or problems; and,
  • dealing with any social problems which may arise on the group.

The primary manager may authorize other individuals to act as managers, editors, or moderators of the group.

In most cases, a group manager should not add a member to a group without the member's prior knowledge and consent, and should comply immediately with a request from a member to be removed from a group.

Faculty members or University departments may create and use groups which include students in a particular class, students in a particular major, staff in a particular department, etc. In cases such as these, members may be added without their prior knowledge or consent, and requests to be removed from the group by those students need not be honored by the group manager. The membership of a Google Group for a class may not be viewed or shared with anyone outside the class.

There is no limit to the number of internal users that can be added but only 10 external users can be added at a time. 

Managing Group Settings

As a manager of a group, you can change most of the settings for your group. From My Groups in Google Groups, select the group from the list, then click "Manage."

Group settings you can change as a manager include:

  • Whether messages are archived and available on the group's page
  • Who can post messages to the group or see the member list
  • Whether you can invite people outside of your domain
  • Who can join the group
  • Whether messages to the group are moderated
  • Whether the group is listed in the directory

Google Groups are administered by the University. Each group is owned by an administrator account and will appear in the member list for all groups. Some settings you may not change as a manager include:

  • The email address for the group
  • What type of group it is (e.g., Email List)
  • Who the Group Owner is
  • Deleting or disabling the group

Google has Manage Google Group documentation:  https://support.google.com/groups#topic=9216

Renaming a Google Group

The email address associated with a UMN Google Group cannot be changed. You may create a new Google Group using the desired email address, and then configure it to match the previous Google Group.

Once the old Google Group is no longer in use, the group manager should notify the Technology Help Service Desk via (612) 301-HELP or [email protected] to request that the group be deleted.

External Users

If a group manager tries to add a user to their group by invitation or direct add, the following error message will appear if the user has not opted into Google Apps, is outside UMN domains, or is not in the same UMN domain (each campus is a 'domain'):

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The group manager may follow these steps to change the settings of the group to allow external members:

  1. Login to their UMN account.
  2. Navigate to groups.umn.edu, groups.d.umn.edu, groups.crk.umn.edu, groups.r.umn.edu, or groups.morris.umn.edu (depending on campus).
  3. Select the desired group from My Groups.
  4. In the upper-right part of the page, click on Manage.
  5. In the left navigation menu click on Permissions.
  6. Under Permissions click on Basic Permissions.
  7. Click the checkbox to "Allow new users not in umn.edu" and save these changes.

The Google Group is now configured to allow users from outside the University or from other campuses to join.

Deleting a Group

Google Groups can be deleted at any time by emailing [email protected] To delete the Group, you must be a manager of the Group you wish to delete. Additionally, it is required that you include a statement notifying the account managers that you recognize that Google Group deletion is permanent, and the account cannot be recovered once it is removed.

 Hello Accounts Team,

 I am writing to request that the Google Group [email protected] be deleted. I recognize that deleting a Google Group is permanent and cannot be undone once completed. I have saved any   information I may need from the account to my own email. I accept responsibility for this information.

 Thank you,

 

Due to the permanent nature of Google Group deletions, it is best to back up any information and save any emails that you may need in the future.

Google Group: messages sent to a group member are bouncing

Google has a support article for this:

https://support.google.com/a/answer/7552660?hl=en

For University Google Groups, the Group Member must update the bouncing status from the member's Google account

Please note that Google will clear the bouncing status automatically at some point.

Additional Questions

Any additional questions can be directed to the Technology Help Desk.

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