How to request a Google Group

About Google Groups

A Google Group is a utility available through GVSU’s Google Apps for Education domain.  It is similar to a mailing list and replaces the Listserv utility.  

Request a Google Group

Please ensure you have read the documentation and GVSU Policies below to understand how Google Groups will operate at GVSU before sending your request.  The owner of the Group is responsible for the administration and support of the account.  All questions regarding the functional use of a Google Group is the responsibility of the group owner.  All documentation and training materials can be found via Google's Online Help Center.

You must have a GVSU Google Gmail account to request a Google Group. Request a GVSU Google Gmail Account.

Request a Google Group

Google Group Formats

  • An Email list group is one whereby members only use Email to communicate. This group type is common in organizations where a single email alias is desired to communicate to a certain group of people using email. 
  • A Web forum or Question and Answer (Q&A) forum group is one whereby members only use the Google Groups user interface to communicate with other members. This group type is similar to the online web forums found on many websites.

Permissions and Access

A Google Group can be configured by the group administrator with permissions that control which users can (or cannot) view group posts, post messages, and/or join the group.

Group Creation and Membership

Any University faculty or staff member with an authorized GVSU Google Gmail account may request a Google Group. Campus-based organizations and departments may also request Groups, but an individual within the Group must be designated as the owner. A student or student group requesting a Group to be set up by Information Technology is required to have a faculty or staff sponsor to whom ownership of the Group will be assigned. Any University faculty member, staff member, student, or other authorized GVSU Google Apps account holder may become a Google Group member.

Types of GVSU Groups

Official Groups - An Official Group is a Google Group that is established and managed by a University department, program, or similar University representative to distribute official information and/or facilitate communication and/or coordination around a particular topic or theme. Members are typically presubscribed by virtue of their position, roles, or responsibilities at the institution. Examples of Official Groups include but are not limited to:

  • Course-related or major-related lists of students
  • Working groups or project teams

Members may be added to an Official Group without their knowledge or consent. By nature of their purpose, some Official Groups have ‘required membership’ and may not allow members to opt-out of membership. 

Official University Groups are created by Information Technology upon request and will be named based on discussions with the requester.

Opt-In Groups

An Opt-In Group is a Google Group that is established and managed by a University department, program, individual or similar University representative to facilitate communication and/or coordination around a particular topic or theme. Membership is generally voluntary. Members are added by self-subscription or by pre-subscription and must be provided the option to unsubscribe.

Examples of Opt-in Groups include, but are not limited to:

  • Community-related message boards for exchanging topical information between members.
  • Community-related distribution lists providing information about campus events or activities.

Opt-in Groups are created by Information Technology upon request and will be named based on discussions with the requester.

Note: Not all requests for Official or Opt-In Groups will be honored. Requesters may be asked to provide additional documentation regarding the granting of a Group so approvers can consider its relevance to University business and the capacity of available information technology resources. In some cases, Information Technology may recommend other electronic conferencing technology that would better serve the purpose of the request.

General Policies

Google Groups are intended to be used primarily for official University business, including employee and student academic pursuits, and employee administrative, personnel, and/or business matters. Any University Google Apps account holder will be accountable under this policy as well as other related IT account usage policies.

It is the Group Owner’s responsibility to learn the system features necessary to manage the Group settings and membership.

Group Owner

Each Google Group is "owned" by an individual who has ‘administrator’ permission and manages the Group’s behavior. The Group Owner may also authorize other individuals, including students, who can participate as editors or moderators of the Group. The Owner is responsible for day-to-day monitoring and operation of the Group. This includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Providing clear information about the purpose of the Group and guidelines about appropriate use by members.
  2. Maintaining the Group settings and configuration.
  3. Adding and removing members.
  4. Serving as the initial point of contact for subscribers with questions or problems.
  5. Dealing with social problems, which may arise on the list.
  6. Acting as the primary point of contact to Information Services around activities related to the Group.

Membership to a Group is not a right of the individual. Group Owners have the right and are responsible for removing members who do not abide by the established Group guidelines, misuse or abuse of the resource, or are abusive of other Group members.

The Group Owner is responsible for determining what constitutes off-topic or inappropriate mailings and is responsible for determining if a mailing is abusive. Escalation procedures for disagreements regarding the interpretation and application of this policy should be administered through appropriate University channels.

Access level

All groups are created with an access level of Restricted. This means that only managers of the group can invite new members.  It also means that only members of the group can post messages, view the messages list, and read the archives.  Messages to the group do not appear in any public search results. 


Duration and Removal of Groups

Google Groups will be periodically reviewed for activity and continued conformance to the current policies.

Groups that are inactive for longer than 12 months or fail to conform to policy will be removed.

Groups associated with courses that are no longer in use will be removed on the same cycle as their corresponding BlackBoard course.

When a Group is removed, it will result in all corresponding mail and data within the Group being permanently deleted and unavailable. No backups of deleted Groups or group activities are available.

Information Technology will contact the Group Owner prior to removing any Group.

Group Transfers

  • GVSU will not transfer a group to a personal email account.
  • Faculty/Staff managed groups should never be transferred to a student Gmail account
  • If a faculty/staff member leaves GVSU, the group will be deleted when the group owner’s GMail account is deleted. 
  • If a department or unit would like to retain a group after its owner is gone, please send an email to [email protected] within one week of the group owners departure. 

Google Help Documentation

Visit Google’s Online Help Center

Questions regarding the process or policies, contact the IT Service Desk at (616) 331-2101 or [email protected] 


Page last modified February 16, 2021