Home / Spring 2014 / 2014-03-06 / Distribution list serves up spam

Distribution list serves up spam

Tired of your important emails being lost under a pile of spam messages? So are we.

Every day, VSU students receive dozens of messages from various clubs, groups and organizations−burying essential emails from professors and classmates. High-priority emails, like Campus Alert, become lost within this disorienting system.

Despite the haphazard appearance of email distribution, there is a system currently in place, but it is ultimately insufficient in controlling these bulk messages.

When a VSU-affiliated organization produces an announcement, it must first be sent to and approved by a list of moderators. These moderators are made up of members from the Communications Department, Information Technology, the Registrar Office and many other VSU departments.

Once approved, the announcements are collected into a single email to group members. The email addresses of students, faculty and staff fall into three different VSU Distribution groups. When a VSU group (or other external domain) dispatches emails to the school, they are sent to the appropriate audience.

Although this dizzying output of quasi-informative spam is not harmful to your computer, it can definitely slow down productivity and increase annoyance. These unwanted emails must be controlled and regulated.

Brian A. Haugabrook, interim chief information officer of IT, is on the radar of his department.

“IT is evaluating different options for people to subscribe to these lists,” Haugabrook said. “We will be evaluating with the communications team on the proper set-up for groups.”

Haugabrook says that students can still control the flow of incoming emails.

“One option is to separate emergency/high-importance emails into their own distribution lists,” Haugabrook said. “Students, faculty and staff have too many emails going out daily.”

Haugabrook promises that progress is on the way.

“This semester has been challenging with the new HSBA (Health Sciences and Business Administration) building,” he said. “We will be able to make more progress in April.”

Until these changes are made, filters and other methods of mail regulation are available. Students can create folders for these unwanted messages and drag them out of their inbox into a folder marked as appropriate (spam, trash, etc.).

Students can also format their email accounts to automatically send unwanted mail to these separate folders, creating more space and time to see important emails.

Although these filters are helpful, we at the Spectator find this surplus of electronic mail unacceptable. It is an issue that must be solved by those in charge of distributing it.

It is not the responsibility of the students to compromise with this mess, but that of our university to take action when a campus-wide issue arises.  

For further questions or concerns, the IT Helpdesk is accessible at 229-245-4357 to help alleviate any frustration.

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