Math IT and ATLAS Infrastructure are decommissioning the old email relay system on Friday, March 1, 2024.

Please be advised of and prepare for the following changes. It is end users' responsibility to ensure the validity of emails they use to manage online accounts and advertise as contact information. 



What is the Math email relay system?

The Math email relay system is used to relay, or forward, email to an individual’s email inbox. More specifically, the Math email relay system forwards mail addressed to or to actual email accounts, such as address.

The Math email relay is equivalent to giving the post office a forwarding address. When mail is sent the post office has instructions to forward that mail. The Math email relay is merely the instructions to forward mail.

Why is the Math email relay system being decommissioned?

The Math email relay system is running an operating system (OS) that is beyond the server’s end of life. The OS can no longer be updated and security flaws cannot be patched. Further, we are no longer able to modify or update the settings on the email relay server because of the antiquated server OS and setup.

Additionally, the University has updated IT policies to restrict auto-forwarding email due to cybersecurity risks.

Who will be affected by this decommissioning?

This decommissioning will affect anyone currently using or addresses to receive email of any kind. 

What will happen when the email relay is decommissioned?

All email messages sent to email address or will fail. If someone emails you at one of these addresses, or you try to recover a password to an online account that uses one of these addresses, you will never receive the message. 

Senders may or may not get an error message if they send mail to a decommissioned address. Further, their email clients may begin to block or ignore messages from you if they receive a certain number of bounce back emails when sending to you. Do not rely on people receiving a bounce back and then finding the correct email address.

Decommissioning Date: March 1, 2024

Follow the instructions on this page to ensure you don't lose access to critical accounts after the deadline.

Preparing for the decommissioning

What YOU need to do:

End users should remove all instances of or addresses in their online activity. This can encompass a wide swath of uses, so use the following list as a guideline:

1. Check your personal and professional websites

Review your personal and professional websites to see if you are currently featuring an email address that contains or as a contact email. If you are, replace them with your email address.

2. Check your email clients

Review your email clients, like the MacMail app or the Outlook app to see if it is trying to check for, send as, or reply to, email address that contain or Replace those with your email address (or a personal email address as appropriate).

If you need help accessing or updating your email client, please contact the Tech Services Help Desk (email:; phone: 217-244-7000).

3. Check your online accounts

If you used your or to sign up for online accounts, make sure to change the email in your account settings to your email address or another, valid email address. For example, if you signed up for an Amazon account using your address, you will need to change that to your email address (or a personal email address as appropriate).

When checking your online accounts, be sure to also look through your account password recovery email addresses. Most online accounts require a password recovery email address to allow you to reset a forgotten password. If you used your or address for this, you need to update to a valid email as soon as possible. Once the email relay has been decommissioned, these email addresses will no longer work and you may be locked out of your account.

4. Check your subscriptions to mailing lists

If you signed up to one or more email newsletters or mailing lists using your or address, you need to replace that with your email address (or your personal email address as appropriate).

5. Request alternative solutions for department committees and task forces

In the past, several committees and departmental task forces utilized the MATH email relay server to ensure messages intended for a specific committee or task force would be forwarded to each member of the group. 

It is possible that an in-use email relay address for a departmental group has not yet been replaced by a shared mailbox. An example of such a departmental item is “” Presumably, this email alias would have been used to direct email to the current associate chair(s) in a given year.

If you are currently using an email relay address for a departmental group or task force—or you discover one—it’s a good idea to check if it has been replaced. Please email with the email relay address; we will check on the item and replace it with a shared mailbox if needed.


NOTE: This list is not exhaustive and we will add to it as we see other uses of the email relay addresses.


What WE will take care of for you:

Math IT and the communications office are aware of several email relays that serve a departmental use, and they have begun the process of implementing replacement solutions, including the following. 

  • Email relay addresses for the seven standing department committees have been replaced with shared mailboxes.
  • Departmental programs like SIM Camp or the Illinois Geometry Lab have been either set up with a new shared mailbox or the old email relay has been replaced by a shared mailbox.
  • All instances of or addresses in main departmental mailing lists have been replaced with users’ addresses. (However, you may be subscribed to other campus mailing lists. Please be sure to check all your campus mailing list subscriptions to ensure continuity of access. We have no ability to automate this for you, sorry.)
  • Instances of or throughout the department website will be removed entirely or replaced with the updated shared inbox address. 
Forced Bounce Test on February 1, 2024

Math IT and ATLAS Infrastructure plan to institute a “forced bounce” on the Math email relay on February 1, 2024. This would, hopefully, bring attention to users who email an or address that it is no longer working by force a bounce-back message that the email failed to send.

We cannot guarantee that this will result in a failed to delivery message. Email systems handle bounces differently; some block or ignore messages if they receive a certain number of bounce back messages from a particular entity.

We will not implement forced bounces sooner than February 1, 2024. It is more advantageous to you as an email user to remove your or relay addresses from listservers and related services so that your contacts’ emailing systems do not inadvertently block or ignore messages from you—or so that your online accounts do not become deactivated because of an invalid email address.


We have responded to individual inquiries from users about the email relay decommissioning in the following section. 

Will I receive further notifications about this decommissioning?

Current faculty, staff, graduate students, and emeritus faculty in the mathematics department will receive emails regarding this decommissioning. This web page will also be updated with related changes or announcements. 

We encourage all users to thoroughly review the information provided and follow up with questions to as necessary.

Will I lose email messages from my account?

The Math email relay is not an email server and does not store email messages. After the email relay is decommissioned, instructions to forward email to an account will no longer exist. However, you will not lose any messages already in your account as a result of this decommissioning.

Can you add a notification to the Math email relay to not use the address?

Unfortunately, no. The Math email relay only forwards email messages. It cannot send notifications.