Network Harassment and Abuse

The University of Chicago IT Security gathers evidence in harassment and abuse complaints involving members of the University community and the University's data network. IT Security provides information to the appropriate disciplinary bodies of the University in these incidents. It does not directly take disciplinary action.

Please note: by policy, we do not release any information on our investigation except through the appropriate University disciplinary body.

Things We Can Help With

  • Finding people on campus who have sent unauthorized mass mailings.
  • Finding people on campus who have sent harassing emails.
  • Locating the appropriate contacts off campus for harassing emails.

Things We Can't Help With

There are a variety of things that we cannot provide help with. These include:

  • Phishing scams. These spam messages are illegal; there is little we can do to track them down. If you have lost money to one of these scams you should report it to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
  • Mass mailings or other sources of spam that are sent by someone not a member of the University community.
  • Virus-infected computers that are not part of the University network. We have no ability to find the owners of these computers; so, cannot inform the owners of the infection.
  • Pornographic spam. Although it might be offensive, these messages are generally sent in bulk and not directed at the recipient of the email. Therefore, in most cases, these emails are not considered harassment and are rarely processed as such.
  • Any message that is not illegal or harassing and is covered by first amendment rights of free speech.

If you are a member of the University community

If you feel there is an immediate threat to your physical safety, call the University Police Department at 911 or for non-emergency matters, 773-702-8181

If you are being harassed through email: students should contact their divisional Dean of Students Office; staff should contact Human Resources; and faculty should contact the Provost's Office.

In addition, please send whatever relevant information you have to IT Security at so we may begin an investigation.

If you are not a member of the University community

If you believe that there is an immediate threat to your physical safety, contact your local law enforcement agency.

If you are being harassed via our network and require an investigation, please send an email to

Please note: Many email messages display forged email addresses in the headers, so that the From line appears to be an address, although it actually originated from an off campus source. This is common with emails that are virus infected or spam. To verify the originating address, display the full headers of the email. For information on reading email headers for the most popular email applications, consult SpamcopNet and Microsoft Office Online for instructions on reading headers in Office Outlook 2010.

Providing the Necessary Information for an Investigation

Please provide us with a description of the incident including the date, time, and time zone that it happened.

If the incident involves email, please send us copies of relevant email messages including the full headers. Information on obtaining the full headers in a variety of mail clients is available from SpamcopNet and Microsoft Office Online covers instructions on Office Outlook 2010.