FlashMail problems discussed with USS

Kelly Pickerel

At the first public Undergraduate Student Senate meeting yesterday, senators were asked for their support in piloting what could become a new university e-mail system.

Dave Dalton, executive director of educational technology, said the university is in close conversation with Google for a possible FlashMail/Gmail convergence at no extra cost to the university.

Dalton said he’s heard of a lot of dissatisfaction with the state of FlashMail today.

“The capacity of the system is very limited, it’s hard to navigate, it’s ugly,” he said.

The new, merged account would work the same as Gmail, which many students are already familiar and very pleased with, he said.

“We would forward e-mails through Gmail (and gain) greatly expanded e-mail storage – dramatically greater than now – and universal access,” he said.

The biggest advantage, Dalton said, would be fewer server shutdowns, ensuring students access to their accounts at all times.

“HelpDesk support for e-mail will still be provided,” he said. “But the likelihood of Google suffering an outage is less than what we’re used to.”

The senators said they were interested in the program, and John Wetmore, senator for governmental affairs, said he “appreciated the university looking at ways to improve technology.”

The beginning stages of the new e-mail system will start with individual pilots. Dalton said the system will not have a campus-wide impact until everything is working in an acceptable manner.

“Arizona State is with the program, and they’re two-and-a-half times larger than Kent State,” he said. “They’ve had nothing but favorable things to say.”

The meeting concluded with senator reports, including a review of Friday’s Allocations Committee meeting.

Funds were distributed to the Commuter and Off-Campus Student Organization and the International Film Society.

Andrew Ljubi, senator for business and finance and head of the Allocations Committee, said he expects four new allocations requests at Friday’s meeting.

Wetmore said he is continuing work on packets about tax-free textbooks, modeling his plan after the success of the University of Texas.

He said he’s also working on distributing voter registration packets to students through First Year Colloquium classes and in residence halls.

“(The packets) make it nice, quick and easy for students to vote,” Wetmore said.

Executive Director Katie Hale commented that at last Friday’s Black Squirrel Festival the senators helped register more than 20 students to vote.

Hale ended the meeting by wishing luck to Kent State’s football team.

USS meetings are 4 p.m. Wednesdays in the Student Center’s Governance Chambers and are open to the public.

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