UA mandates use of university-based e-mail
Thursday September 6, 2001
Generic messages regarding official, personal info to be sent via UA accounts
The UA is now mandating all students use university-based e-mail accounts to receive official information, officials said.
However, with the recent integration of the requirement, concerns about privacy and excess junk mail have been raised. However, university officials have said that no personal information will be sent via e-mail to those accounts.
Rick Kroc, director of University of Arizona Assessment and Enrollment Research, said only generic messages will be sent notifying students of personal information posted on the university Web site under Student Link.
"For sensitive and personal information, students will receive a notice via e-mail telling them to log on to Student Link to view the sensitive material," Kroc said, "For example, financial aid and grades will not be sent over e-mail, but there will be a notice."
Kroc said the new procedure contains the issue of "spamming" - the sending of junk e-mail to a large number of users - and will be managed by the Office of Curriculum and Registration. He said the office has the authority to determine what is to be sent over the e-mail system.
Mike Torregrossa, associate director of the Center for Computing and Information Technology, said the problem with "spamming" is inevitable.
"Spamming is a never-ending battleˇthey send spam from one address, and we block it. Then, they send it from another address," he said.
CCIT controls the e-mail system and will monitor it for spam, Torregrossa said.
Kroc said the main reason for the new procedure, which was implemented this semester, was to provide a more efficient way for the university to communicate with students.
He said there are certain documents required by federal law to be sent through postal mail. He added that there may come a time when those laws are changed and e-mail is the only means of document communication.
Kroc said the system is not fully implemented, and the reception of personal documents by Student Link is not yet operational. He said no confidential information will be distributed over the Internet until all aspects of the system are completely functional.
"Maybe by next fall, if all is going well, we'll send correspondence by e-mail only," he said. "Every semester and every year, we will do more with it - we may have to stop and make adjustments along the way with problems that arise."
Kroc said the new system is financially beneficial to the university as it will help save money on postage costs. He said, however, the financial savings were not the focus of the new procedure.
"It's the right thing to do for the students and the faculty," he said.
Kroc added that this new method of communication is not a recent idea as other universities are attempting to implement the same concept.
He said the student population should be able to make this transition from postal to electronic because all students have access to computers with Internet capabilities in campus labs and libraries.
Torregrossa said that generic messages were already sent to students via e-mail notifying them of their cancellation of their classes due to non-payment of tuition.
He added that the idea for the new system was spearheaded by the Undergraduate Education Division. The concept was proposed to the Information Technology Group and was received favorably, he said.