What is WhitMail?

WhitMail is our latest email system, powered by Google. Whitman College has partnered with Google to aquire an email service from Google (email processing, spam filtering, storage, etc.) while still using Whitman domains.

What does WhitMail gain us?

WhitMail allows us to increase capacity (larger mailbox sizes, larger attachment sizes) and provide a superior web-based mail system.

Will my WhitMail address differ from other Whitman email addresses?

No. All Whitman email addresses, including WhitMail, follow the pattern.

Who do I call if I have problems with or questions about WhitMail?

The WCTS Helpdesk at x4976 or

Google's service is free to educational institutions like Whitman, so how does Google make money?

Google has three objectives with this service. First, Google has its roots in education (Stanford University) and wishes to contribute to the educational world by offering its products with no out-of-pocket institutional expense.

Second, Google hopes to make lifetime Google users out of students. Their hope is that when graduates will continue to use their services and its associated products for the rest of their lives and perhaps even bring these products into their future business world.

Third, Google’s revenue flow is generated by delivering context-sensitive advertisements to the users of its products (e.g. Gmail and Google). When students graduate and if they choose to move to Google Gmail, context-sensitive ads would be delivered to them through the Gmail interface.

Can Google stop this service or start charging for it?

Whitman has signed a four-year agreement with Google to provide WhitMail as is. If, after four years, Google decides to change some or all of the service which might render it insufficient for campus needs and use, the College would reconsider.


What are the Security and Privacy Issues with WhitMail? What happens with our email when it sits on Google’s servers? Is Google reading my mail?

Google’s (including its email) most salient feature is its fantastic searching ability. Google makes all of its components (email, calendar, etc.) searchable by the end-user. In order to deliver this feature, Google scans all email and calendar data and indexes the information to make it searchable by the end-user and only the end-user. During the searching and indexing, Google accumulates aggregate, non-personal information in order to provide better services.

So, is my data private with WhitMail?

Yes. In a nutshell:

  • Google does not own your data.
  • Google does not share your data. There are a few exceptions in the Privacy Policy (court order, imminent threat to life).
  • Google keeps the data as long as you want.
  • Google deletes the data when you ask.
  • Google allows you to take the data out of its system.

For further reference, see

For a clearly-worded explanation of Google's privacy and security policies, see

If my email, address book and calendar information is stored off-campus on Google’s servers, who owns this data?


If my email, address book and calendar information is stored off campus on Google’s servers, who has access to it?

As with our current system, only you and WCTS System Administrators have access to your information. However, both Whitman College and Google are US law-abiding entities and should some legal action, initiated by local or federal law agencies, require access to user data stored on Google’s server (e.g. subpoenaed information), the College and Google will act or respond as required by law. This is no different than what we do now.


Is Whitmail different than Gmail?

The web-based user interface will have the same look and feel of Google's Gmail. This includes automatically combining messages into "conversations." Google provides more information in their conversations support guide.

WhitMail also uses a feature they call labels. Labels are similar to folders except that you can apply multiple labels to a conversation. For more information, please review Google's labels support guide

Important: When you delete a message (i.e. move it to the trash), either inadvertently or on purpose, WhitMail expunges the message after 30 days. After that 30 days, the user and WCTS are unable to retrieve that message.

I’m already a Google Gmail user. Can I combine my existing Gmail account with WhitMail?

No. All WhitMail users will have a address. While you can forward either your personal Gmail account to WhitMail or vice versa, we recommend keeping personal and college-related emails separate.

Can I still use a third-party email client with WhitMail?

We highly recommend using the web interface to WhitMail to make best use of its features. However, WhitMail supports any POP or IMAP email client (e.g. Thunderbird, Outlook, Mac Mail, etc.). See the Accessing WhitMail Support Guide for more information.

Can I search for partial words?

No. Google allows you to search for (and create filters using) words but not parts of words. This feature has been requested and may be added in the future.

How are filters applied to messages?

All filters are processed for each message. So, if you have two different filters that match a message, both filter's actions will be processed unless one of the filters is set up to delete the message.

When I print my mail using File -> Print, the printout is not correct. Why?

To print a conversation, use the Print or Print all link on the WhitMail sceen. To print an individual message, click the context menu of the message and click Print.

You cannot use File -> Print to print email correctly.

How do I label a message in my inbox with an existing label?

  1. Check the checkbox next to the message you want to label.
  2. Click on the More Actions pull-down menu above the inbox listing
  3. Choose the label you want applied.

You can also perform steps 2 and 3 while reading a message to apply a label to it.

Why don't I receive an email when I send a message to a mailing list (or alias) that I'm on?

When you send a message to any mailing list you subscribe to, WhitMail automatically skips your inbox and archives the message to save you time and prevent clutter. The message will appear in your inbox if someone responds to it or if there is an error delivering the message. If you'd like to view your message, you can find it in Sent Mail or All Mail.

Is there a way to make the banner that appears above the Archive/Spam/Delete buttons and the Inbox listing go away? It is promoting entertainment, news items, etc.

Yes. The banner is called web clips and can be disabled or customized by going to Settings -> Web Clips and choosing the options you want.

Why did I get locked out of my email?

To help stem the flow of potential spam, Google will temporarily disable your WhitMail account if you send more than:

  • 500 messages per day (i.e., you can hit 'Send' a maximum of 500 times)
  • 500 unique recipients per message
  • 2000 total emails per day (for example, you could send one message to a group of 500 people four times)

In addition to these limitations, Google will temporarily disable your WhitMail account if you send a message to more than 500 recipients or if you send a large number of undeliverable messages. According to the Google help center, you can only send a message to up to 100 people at a time if you use POP or IMAP.

I am going to be gone for a few days and won't be able to check e-mail. Can I set up a vacation/auto-responder message?

Yes, WhitMail provides a vacation responder in Settings > General. This will automatically respond to any e-mail sent to you. Be sure to turn it off once you are back on campus.

I placed a note in the address book for all the people in my group, yet when I do a search for contacts they don't come up. Why?

WhitMail doesn't search your notes in the address book. The notes are for your own personal reminders. To place your contacts in a group search for them in your contacts and click add to group.

I like to keep "templates" of messages I send often. How do I do that in WhitMail?

WhitMail does not currently offer any kind of 'template' feature, but there are two work-arounds.

WhitMail will keep a copy of your sent mail in the Sent Mail label/folder. You can access it by clicking Forward and will then be able to modify the message as you wish.

Alternatively, you can save your "template" email as a draft, create a label called "Templates" and label the message with that. You'll then be able to find it there whenever you want to use it.

Can I add an email to a conversation by changing its subject line?

At present, there is no way to add a message to an existing conversation. You can only add to the conversation by replying directly.

How do I transfer my mail from my WhitMail account to some other account? (i.e., I'm leaving Whitman and want to take my mail with me.)

The easiest way to take your mail with you when you leave the college is to set up a personal Gmail account (see to sign up) and then transfer your WhitMail messages to your personal Gmail account. Instructions for doing this can be found in our guide for Merging WhitMail with Gmail.  

How do I check my email if isn't working?

You can always use the following URL if is not working:

What does "Oops… the system encountered a problem (#6400)" mean?

We have seen this error when trying to read WhitMail messages on Firefox version 1.0.  We recommend upgrading to the newest version of Firefox at:

Mobile Units

Can I access my WhitMail account with a mobile web browser?

Yes. In the address, enter


Can't Find Your Question?

If you can't find your question listed above, you can also check out these resources:


Adapted with permission from St. Olaf College

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