YSU, SGA search for solutions to email issues

Because of the high volume of Youngstown State University emails and the resulting disapproval from students who use the YSU email system, the institution’s ability to relay any information via email may be in jeopardy.

According to an email sent to YSU faculty and staff from Gene Grilli, vice president for finance and administration, several email providers such as AOL and Time Warner are identifying YSU emails as junk mail or spam, based on user feedback and mail volume.

The high number of blacklisted emails has resulted in the system’s poor reputation.

Grilli said “blacklisting” means that emails are no longer being delivered in a timely manner, if at all.

The problem stems from the high number of updates and announcements that are sent to students every day.

David Porter, a political science professor at YSU, said he began noticing problems when he didn’t receive lecture notes he had emailed to himself for class. Then, during spring break, he was supposed to receive test results for his political science class. He didn’t.

That’s when he began asking questions.

“It’s a collective thing that has become a big problem,” Porter said.

An immediate stop has been put to all emails deemed nonessential by the university. Only bills and financial aid updates, along with emergency messages, will be sent to students.

Before the announcements were cut off, Grilli said in an email that announcements were exceeding 100,000 per day.

“One email sent out to students, faculty and staff could reach upwards of 20,000 people,” said Travis Battiest, the Student

Government Association’s vice president for university affairs.

Though MyYSU announcements have always been sent to students daily, the volume has steadily increased.

Sophomore Mike Rohan said he’s noticed longer delivery times.

“My professors will say they sent me something, but I won’t get it until maybe two or three days later,” Rohan said.

Website manager Bob Tupaj and SGA have been working since the fall to minimize the number of emails sent.

Together, they analyzed techniques used by other universities that allow students to view organized announcements from student groups and university events.

“The computer center is looking into and experimenting with different ways to put all this together,” Tupaj said.

What they’ve come up with is utilizing the events calendar on the YSU website and combining information sent in MyYSU announcements into one daily or weekly email.

Battiest said though the logistics are still being worked out, the events calendar will be ready as part of the new YSU website.

“The calendar will minimize what will have to be included in the daily newsletter,” he said.

Information not included on the events calendar will be sent in an automated newsletter.

Tupaj said students will be able to choose how often they receive the newsletter.

“The end user will have a choice to receive updates on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, and the computer will organize and send out the information thusly,” Tupaj said.

Sophomore Daniel Catello said he likes the idea. It would be much easier on his inbox if he only received one email per day, he said.

“It’s very beneficial to me because I’m already getting 20 or 30 emails a day,” Catello said. “The announcements greatly add to the volume of my inbox.”