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2.4.2 Directories and Distribution Lists

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Approved by the President.
Last Updated

Formerly Known As Policy Number: 28.3

The University maintains lists of names, addresses, telephone numbers and electronic mail accounts of individuals and organizations of importance to the University. This Guide Memo sets forth policies concerning use of such University data and describes the major lists used to conduct the University's business.


This policy applies to all Stanford University employees and students.

1. Use of University Distribution Lists and Directories

a. Publicly Available Information

(1) Privacy

Students have rights with respect to their educational records under the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA); see the Student Bulletin, for more information. Additionally, students, affiliates, faculty and staff may have rights to privacy under California Law with regard to certain information used in distribution lists and directories.

StanfordYou provides members of the community the ability to update key directory and contact information, including work and emergency information. To ensure contact information is available and accessible within the Stanford community, staff must maintain their work information in StanfordYou.

(2) Printed Stanford Directory

Contains information about Stanford employees, and students registered for autumn term. It is available free of charge to all continuing Stanford employees and registered students, and for purchase by the general public. By making this information publicly available, the University relinquishes control over the use to which it may be put. Therefore, particular care is taken to carry out individuals' wishes regarding the confidentiality of their home address and telephone number information. See 1.a (1) above.

(3) StanfordWho

Online directory contains information for and about current Stanford students, faculty and staff, including people affiliated with the University, Stanford Healthcare and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC). This directory allows the public and Stanford community to search for the contact information of members in the community. Results are based on the settings maintained within StanfordYou.

b. Alumni Directory

The Stanford Alumni Association and other school alumni associations publish an online and print directory that is available to alumni, current students and some University departments for the user's personal use only. The directory may not be used for commercial purposes.

c. Lists for University Purposes

Distribution lists not publicly available may be used only for University purposes. Such lists include both mailing lists and electronic mail distribution lists including those created by members of the Stanford community from University sources. Use of the distribution lists (including production of listings of file contents, production of mailing labels and online use of electronic mail distribution lists) is authorized only when all of the criteria below are met:

  • The organization is responsible to the President of the University;
  • The use is for official University business; and
  • When such use is consistent with the University responsibilities of the individual requesting or using the list.

University distribution lists may not, for example:

  • Be used for personal, partisan political, or commercial purposes
  • Be provided to persons or entities outside the University
  • Be used for promotional purposes or solicitations by other than Stanford University

d. Department Responsibilities

Departments are responsible for ensuring that any lists they maintain are used in conformity with University policies. In addition to this Guide memo, the following contain applicable policies:

e. Exceptions

Any request for University data for use other than in accordance with this policy must have the approval of the President of the University or their designee.

2. Person Registry

a. Contents

The Person Registry contains basic identifying information for all faculty, staff, students and affiliates.

b. Original Sources of Information

The Person Registry brings together student information from Student Administration, faculty and staff information from the Human Resources Management System, (HRMS) and sponsored affiliates' information from the SUNet ID system.

c. How Changes are Made

Faculty, staff, students and recent graduates may change their own information using the Axess portal or by using StanfordYou for service related information (e.g., email settings). Faculty and staff may change some personal information in StanfordYou; work-related changes are made in the university's HRMS by human resources administrators, with the exception of a name change, which is personal in nature but must be updated in the HRMS.

d. Outputs

(1) StanfordWho: 

See 1.a (3) above.

(2) Listings in the Printed Stanford Directory: 

See 1.a(2) above.

(3) Axess:

 An Intranet (referred to as the Axess portal) that faculty, staff and students use to complete many tasks.

(4) Corrections to Source Systems: 

Changes made through StanfordWho and Axess go to the Person Registry and then to the university's Student Administration system and HRMS.

(5) Other authorized uses:

 Data is available to other official University business systems, e.g., the ID Card system and the Library system.

e. More Information

See the University IT website for more information about the Registry.

3. Human Resources Management System

a. Contents

The Human Resources Management System (HRMS) contains detailed demographic and work data on all University employees and retirees.

b. Sources of Information

Information on current employees and retirees comes from the university's HRMS and is submitted by the employee or retiree's department.

c. How Changes are Made

(1) Employees' Address and Phone Information

StanfordYou allows employees to update information published in Stanford directories. See StanfordYou for more information.

(2) Work-Related Changes

Changes other than the employee's address and telephone information are generated by the department's human resources administrator online in the university's HRMS.

(3) Retirees

Changes to retiree information are entered on receipt of written instructions from the retiree or by contacting the University HR Service Team. Only emeriti are included in the StanfordWho directory.

d. Outputs

(1) Person Registry

The HRMS feeds data to the Person Registry.

(2) Mailing Labels

The HRMS can generate mailing labels for specific populations. For advice on options available, departments should consult with Mail and Delivery Services.

4. Student Administration

a. Contents

The university's Student Administration system includes student and applicant demographic information, including physical and email addresses.

b. Sources of Information

(1) Central Offices

Including: Bursar's Office, Office of the Registrar, Financial Aid, and Undergraduate Admissions

(2) Academic Departments

Department administrators with appropriate access enter advisors, graduate degree support information, graduate financial support information, and admissions data.

c. How Data Changes are Made

Central offices and academic departments can, in most cases, update data they have originally entered. Students can update personal information through the Axess portal and StanfordWho.

d. Outputs

(1) Person Registry

The university's Student Administration sends data to the Person Registry.

(2) Student Records

Reporting systems contain detailed student information including personal addresses. Access to this data requires approval by the appropriate School Dean for academic departments or the Registrar's Office for central office staff, and access to private information is set up only on a "need-to-know" basis. Address rosters, mailing labels, and personal reports can be generated for business purposes.

(3) Applicant Information

Undergraduate and graduate applicant demographic information is contained in university systems and/or an authorized vendor's database. Access to this data requires approval by the appropriate School Dean for academic departments or the Registrar's Office for central office staff, and is set up only on a "need-to-know" basis. Mailing labels and personal reports can be generated from the system.

5. Alumni Information

a. Contents

(1) PostGrads

The PostGrads alumni information database includes basic demographic data for Stanford alumni, parents of students, and University friends, including corporations and foundations. This file is used to create mailing lists for the Stanford Magazine and various mailings and solicitations sent by the Office of Development, the Stanford Alumni Association, and the University. The data in this file may be selected according to particular purposes, such as those alumni who received law degrees in 1980. The Office of Development maintains and controls PostGrads.

(2) Department and School Databases

Some departments and schools keep records of their own alumni and friends. The following restrictions apply to such databases:

  • Schools and departments may receive data changes as a result of their mailings. The data changes should be sent to for updating in PostGrads.
  • Any use of PostGrads information for gift solicitations outside of the Office of Development must be approved in advance by the Office of the Vice President for Development.
  • Any use of records must be consistent with the purpose communicated to the persons providing such information.

b. Sources of Information

(1) Alumni

Data on current and graduated students is downloaded to PostGrads from PeopleSoft Student Administration. Although recent graduates can update information in Axess, information is not currently shared between Axess and PostGrads.

(2) Parents

Data on parents of Stanford students is forwarded to Development Services and PostGrads by the Stanford Parents Program in the Office of Development, which receives the information from the New Undergraduate Student Information Project, administered by the Housing Center.

(3) Stanford Friends

Data on Stanford friends is forwarded to Development Services by various other sections of the Development Office.

c. How Data Changes are Made

Development Services enters changes into PostGrads. Sources of information for changes are returned mail, postal change of address cards, correspondence with individuals on the list, changes made by the individual via their online profile, and notification from a University department with which the individual is associated. Information needed includes:

  • The individual's University ID number
  • The individual's name
  • Change information
  • Name, Stanford department, and phone number of the information source, when the information is not directly from the individual

d. Outputs from File

(1) Lists for Directories

Directories of specific populations published by schools use PostGrads as source data.

(2) Labels and Address Lists

Departments and schools needing output from PostGrads should contact their School's Development Office for assistance, after obtaining approval from the Office of the Vice President for Development. Mailing information will be prepared only for University departments. If an outside vendor provides mailing services, the department is responsible for assuring that the vendor will protect the confidentiality of the data and will gain no rights over the data.

e. Control of File

Only Development Services may make changes to PostGrads biographic and gift information. The Director of Development Services acts as coordinator in resolving questions that may arise in application of University policies on use of PostGrads.