Google Groups: Managing a Group

Google Groups is a tool for a team of users to quickly collaborate with one another. If members of your team are in the same Google Group, you can simplify sharing resources like calendars and documents with one another. You can also participate in group discussions or send out email messages to the entire group.

Users within a Google Group may have different roles. Group managers can manage group members, discussions, and other settings.

Note that we are not able to provide users in University-administrated Google Groups with the owner role, as provisioning the permissions associated with this role could result in unintentional loss of data or accidental group deletion.

This article includes:

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.

    Groups may not be used for:

    • unsolicited mass mailings
    • promotion of commercial products, services, or organizations
    • purposes that 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 that 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. 

    For more information, refer to the FERPA resources page or reach out to [email protected]

    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.

    For more information, refer to HIPAA Compliance at the University or reach out to [email protected]

    Group Manager Role

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

    • removing members whose addresses are no longer valid
    • removing members who no longer are associated with the group
    • serving as the initial point of contact for members with questions or problems
    • dealing with any social problems which may arise in 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 that 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. Note that only 10 external users can be added at a time. 

    Managing Group Settings

    As a manager of a group, you can change most settings for the group.

    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's Owner is
    • Deleting or disabling the group

    Review or Make Changes to Your Google Group

    To review or make changes to group settings:

    1. Log into your University of Minnesota account at
    2. On the My groups page, find the group you wish to manage. Select the group from the list. 
    3. Select Group settings
      Google Groups, My groups, test google group page. Menu tabs for Conversations, People, About, My membership settings, and Group settings (highlighted) are listed.
    4. Additional submenu options will appear. Select the option you would like to review or modify.
      Google Groups, My groups, test group listing, Group settings. Menu option tabs include General, Member privacy, Posting policies, Email options, and Member moderation.

    Refer to the official Google Groups Help page for more information and resources about managing a Google Group.

    Renaming a Google Group

    The email address associated with a UMN Google Group cannot be changed. Request a new Google Group using your desired email address. You can configure the new Google Group to match the settings of the previous Google Group.

    Google Groups that are no longer in use should be deleted. If you are the manager of an inactive Google Group, submit a request to delete the inactive group.

    If you only need to update the Google Group display name (for example, if there is a typo in the way your group's name displays, but the email address for the group is correct), this can be updated by IT staff. Managers of the group should reach out via [email protected] for help updating the group display name. 

    Adding External Users

    An error message will appear when a group manager tries to invite or directly add a user if:

    • the user does not have a Google account and has not opted into Google Apps
    • is outside of the University of Minnesota Google domain
    • is not in the same University of Minnesota Google campus domain

    Google Groups error message: An error occurred. 1 user is outside of your organization. Based on your group or organization settings, you can only add organization users to this group. Contact your group owner or domain administrator for help. Close.

    External Members Restrictions

    Google Groups created by members of the Business Associate Agreement (BAA) are subject to additional security restrictions than standard University Google Groups.
    Google Groups associated with these sensitive data units may not add external users.

    Group managers of standard University Google Groups may adjust the settings of the group to allow external members. 

    Adjust Group Settings to Allow External Members

    To allow external members to join standard University Google Groups:

    1. Log into
    2. On the My groups page, find the group you wish to manage. Select the group from the list. 
    3. Select Group settings
      Google Groups, My groups, test google group page. Menu tabs for Conversations, People, About, My membership settings, and Group settings (highlighted) are listed.
    4. Additional submenu options will appear. Select General
      Google Groups, My groups, test group listing, Group settings. Menu option tabs include General (highlighted), Member privacy, Posting policies, Email options, and Member moderation.
    5. Under Allow external members, toggle the radio button to On.
    6. The Google Group is now configured to allow users from other University of Minnesota campuses or from outside the University of Minnesota to join.

    Deleting a Google Group

    Managers of a Google Group may request to delete the group if necessary. You may need to delete a Google Group if:

    • it was created by accident
    • it was created with a spelling error
    • the group is inactive/no longer in use

    Request Deletion of a Google Group

    To request deletion of a Google Group that you manage:

    1. Read the information below.
      • Google Group deletion is permanent. The Google Group cannot be recovered once it is deleted.
      • Only group managers may request to delete a Google Group. 
      • Due to the permanent nature of Google Group deletions, we strongly recommend that you back up any information from that Google Group that you may need in the future.
        • If there is any information you need to save from the Google Group, you must save it to your own University Google account or using an appropriate alternative storage solution.
        • You must accept responsibility for this information. Refer to Managing University Records and Information for relevant record retention policy information. 
    2. Fill out the following email template.
    Hello IT staff,
    I would like to request deletion of the following Google Group:
    I am a manager for this Google Group. 
    I recognize that deleting a Google Group is permanent and cannot be undone once completed.
    I have saved any information that may be needed from the account. I accept responsibility for this information.
    Thank you,
    1. Send the information above to [email protected].

    • Your request will be processed within 1 to 2 business days.

    • You will receive email confirmation once the Google Group has been deleted.

    Troubleshooting Google Group Errors

    Resolve Message Bounce Errors

    If a member of your group is not receiving messages from the Google Group, that member's email address may be inactive or otherwise unable to accept mail.

    If the member has a University of Minnesota email address, they may need to contact Technology Help for assistance with their account if:

    • They are also not receiving messages from other senders.
    • They are unable to sign into their University of Minnesota account at and should still have access to their University of Minnesota Google account (refer to the Account Termination Reference Guide). 

    Bounce Status Flag

    If the group member's email is active and they are able to receive mail from other senders,  Google Groups likely flagged the user's account with a bounce status flag.

    You may see a small red triangle icon listed next to the group member's name. 
    Google Groups, member information. A small red triangle with an exclamation point in the center is highlighted in yellow next to the subscription dropdown menu.

      The member must remove the bounce flags themselves. Technology Help is unable to clear this flag on the user's behalf.

      To remove the bounce flag:

      1. Sign in to Google Groups at
      2. At the top right, click Settings, then select Global settings.
      3. Check under Bounce status.
        • See if your email address is flagged to indicate that messages sent to you are bouncing.
        • If so, click the link to remove the bounce status.
      4. Click Save.

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