For some UT alumni, keeping a strong connection to campus after graduation is important.
Student email accounts are currently being terminated after a minimum of one year from graduating from UT.
The previous termination date was after 90 days of graduation. This policy was changed last year.
When asked about this policy change, Steve Magriby, Director of Instructional Technology said how the extension is accommodating: “We know that graduated students are looking for jobs, and when they send out resumes they list their UT email account for contact information.”
Not only alumni, but non-returning students have access to their UT email for at least one year. The registrar keeps these emails to survey students’ opinions about why they left UT. Also, if a student comes back after one semester away, he or she can immediately have access to the existing email account.
After each year, the registrar’s office supplies a list of students who have graduated or who are no longer students at UT. IT takes this list and terminates all accounts that meet this criteria.
For staff and faculty, the policy is different. Those who no longer work at UT have their email accounts terminated immediately. With permission an extension is available.
UT started using email 15 years ago when text-only email was introduced.
However, during this time, email was available only for students in computer classes. Six years later, UT made a policy to issue email accounts for communication among students, faculty and staff.
When asked about why email accounts are terminated, Magriby stated, “We don’t have the capacity to keep student accounts in the system.”
With currently over 10,000 email accounts within the UT system, keeping accounts that students do not use is a waste of space.
“I think that if the student body requested to keep accounts, we would do that,” Magriby said. But without the proper capacity to store everyone’s email account, this is a current problem.
Upon request, graduated students can keep their UT account for an extended 90 days.
As far as extending access to email accounts, Magriby said: “How long is long enough? There has to be a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Another problem IT is facing is that it is unknown how many people use their UT accounts after graduation.
By cutting access to accounts after one year, this will filter the unused.
“We don’t want to clutter the system with students who don’t use their emails,” Magriby said.
However, alumni are able to access UT global messages. Former students can request an email change to the alumni office with proper identification. All UT messages will be sent out as forwards.
Magriby is currently working on setting up Microsoft’s Live Mail system. With the software in his hand, he needs to understand more about the product.
Live Mail will allow access for an unlimited amount of time to alumni. This system is being discussed for future implementation for December graduates.
Live Mail accounts are regular email accounts, with global messages from UT being an option. However, a request needs to be made in order to receive UT global messages.
Another problem alumni are faced with is the transfer of emails from the UT account to a new address.
Currently, when a UT account is terminated, all messages will be lost, none will be automatically transferred to the account.
Maureen Crawford is a UT alumna, who had her email account unexpectedly terminated after a year and a half.
After talking to the IT department, the problem was fixed,
“After attending UT for six years and being super involved with many facets of the University I have never seen a department or administrator so quick to fix a mistake and apologize. It wasn’t even a full 24 hrs and the problem was remedied,” Crawford said.
From now on, the registrar’s office sends out a notification email when termination will begin. Michelle Pelaez sent an email in August to students who had not attended UT since May 2006.
“We try to do everything in the best interest of students,” Magriby said.