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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Administration and campus groups abuse list-serves

Published: August 31, 2007
Section: Opinions

As Brandeis students, we are entitled to a number of wonderful support services. The university gives us fantastic phones that resemble those used on the television series twenty-four, and the campus computer labs arent half bad. But probably the greatest resource that we are given is the ability to obtain an email address through the university. Our email addresses are not only the means by which to obtain a facebook account, but also have other uses as well. Professors can easily communicate to classes, clubs can notify members of important dates, and the administration itself can send messages to the entire campus. All this sounds like a great asset to our community, but I believe that certain organizations within Brandeis are abusing their power and flooding our inboxes. This has the effect of limiting our interest in important news, is downright annoying, and has a number of other negative consequences as well.

In my eyes, the administration itself is one of the biggest perpetrators of all-list abuse. Oftentimes the university will send emails that are of no interest to the general student body. These include hiring and resignations in the most boring of positions, construction notices when most of the students are not even around, and other unnecessary messages. Sometimes individual departments will hijack the listserve and send out their own notices about events that only about two dozen people will eventually attend. In other instances, an email will be sent to the entire community with news items that few people will read. Its true that sometimes these emails are necessary. I am sure many people read President Reinharzs open letter to professor Abramson about the Palestinian art display;

or at least I found it interesting. In addition, the administration will oftentimes inform the community about traffic changes due to construction or other important information about the termination of services due to inclement weather. Still, the annoyance of unnecessary messages cannot be countervailed by these instances and it is still irritable nonetheless.

The other biggest perpetrator of this egregious practice is the Student Union. This organization cant get enough out of sending the student body pointless messages. The Student Union will routinely notify all of us of Student Senate resolutions that no one cares about, cultural events that twelve people will attend and a variety of non-important messages. Oftentimes, specific clubs will be given the benefit of hijacking this ability while other clubs are left in the dark. Granted, the student government does sometimes provide us with important information. I have received many free meals and gotten a large quantity of Lizzys ice cream by reading these messages, but still, all those emails are annoying. And to think that on top of that, the Student Government still sends out a regular email with all the events happening that week!

I wouldnt just do all this complaining unless I intended to provide proposed solutions. First, I think that it is important and necessary that the administration send emails to the student body. They simply need not deliver them in such large quantities. The administration and the Student Government currently send out weekly emails. These include the Thursday emails by Alwina, the weekly emails by the student government, and certain others. What the administration and the Union should do is consolidate their messages into fewer emails. Ameliorate the important information and events in the regular messages and stop sending out superfluous emails to the student body.

Maybe I would not be so inclined to delete parts of my inbox if I knew that all significant information and occurrences were being outlined in a few emails. But at this point, when I read in the subject line If its a Thursday then or something involving the Student Union, I am just one click away from erasing the message.

Yes, we are given a pretty great email service that allows us to communicate to all the members of our community. But still, certain groups of people on campus seem bent on insuring frustration and contempt by flooding our emails. I beg that these groups consider consolidating their messages so I have less Spam to deal with. I urge them because my inbox is already being flooded by winning notifications from foreign lotteries and University of Phoenix advertisements already!