New YMES guidelines aim to make students read emails again

By Tanner Mondok

New email guidelines have been put into place at Youngstown State University with the intent of refining and improving mass emails being sent to students, faculty and staff from the YSU Mass Email System.

The move comes as a response to emails at YSU becoming excessive according to those who receive them.

The guidelines are being put into place with the hopes that students no longer feel bombarded by the amount of emails being sent to them.

Ron Cole, YSU Public Information officer, developed the guidelines along with Information Technology Services. Cole said that the guidelines were developed because he wants to ensure that emails are properly formatted and wants to be able to control the amount being sent out.

“We want to ensure that whenever we’re sending an email out on campus that it’s properly formatted so that it’s relatively clear that it’s coming from the university,” he said. “We also want to ensure that there’s not too many of them sent out and as a result people stop paying attention to them.”

The biggest issue targeted by the guidelines is people receiving emails who aren’t interested in the contents of the message and it ends up being ignored.

Cole said that he is working to ensure that emails are being sent only to the target audience and not all of campus.

“There have been occasions where an email has gone out to the entire campus on a subject that was pretty narrow. Those emails are the kind that we are looking at to see if it is necessary to send an email to all 13,000 students and 2,500 faculty and staff,” he said.

Alex Kerchum, Web Application specialist, said that mass emails weren’t being sent to the correct target audience and made it difficult for students to find relevant information in their inboxes.

“Faculty and staff were getting student emails and students were getting faculty and staff emails,” he said. “The bulk of those emails made it hard for students to find emails from their professors and emails that were relevant to them would get lost in the mix.”

Eddie Howard, associate vice-president of Student Experience, said that only 20 percent of mass emails sent out are actually opened by faculty, staff and students. He also mentioned instances where people would get upset about receiving so many messages and ask for the emails not to be sent to them anymore.

Howard said that the guidelines make it so the emails being sent out are neutral with no names attached.

“In the body of the emails, it mentions who you should contact if you want more information. I think that’s excellent,” he said. “My administrative assistant sends out email after email and folks associate the email with her, because it comes from her, that she has the information on that particular email.”

There are currently nine sources which are able to send unsolicited YMES messages according to the guidelines. The sources are The President, Office of the President, YSU Academic Affairs, YSU Information, YSU News, Tech Desk, YSU Human Resources, YSU Student Experience and YSU Student Success.

The next step according to Cole is to move certain routine announcements from being sent via YMES and promote non-email services such as the already active PenguinAlert service to communicate on campus.