StormWatch becomes war zone

by Katey Wright

From announcements about new intramural sports to a cry for help in finding a lost possession, mass e-mails flood campus regularly. Circulating as well are opinions about the so-called “e-mail wars” provoked by the sending and receiving of mass e-mails.

Sophomore Nate Ruhland let his opinion be known when he responded to the sender of a mass e-mail.

“I wrote an e-mail to him and told him that I didn’t care to hear his opinion on politics and that I’m sure nobody else does either,” Ruhland said.

Ruhland said he received 15-20 e-mails and phone calls thanking him for writing the e-mail. He said these welcome thank-you messages show that there are more people who are frustrated with people’s abuse of their Simpson e-mail accounts.

Chuck Johnson, Simpson academic software specialist, and his colleagues in Information Services filter Simpson’s mass e-mails in an attempt to avoid abuse of the system.

“[E-mails] are either sent or we tell the sender that it can’t be sent according to the policy statement,” Johnson said.

The policy statement is posted on the Simpson Web page indicating that solicitation or anything of a personal nature benefiting an individual is not allowed; subjects must be college-related.

Katie Draheim, who recently sent an e-mail to the Simpson community regarding a Christmas-card drive for soldiers in Iraq, understands and agrees with the policies.

“I think mass e-mails can be effective,” Draheim said. “I honestly have no other way of getting ahold of all Simpson students, and this is for a good cause, so hopefully that cuts down on the annoyance a little bit.”

Professors also make use of mass e-mails to communicate with students and vice versa.

“I think they are useful for communicating information campus-wide in a quick and efficient manner, said Jennifer Hedda, assistant professor of History. “But only as long as individuals don’t abuse the system by using it for frivolous purposes.”

Ruhland doesn’t mind legitimate e-mails, but hates it when e-mail accounts are used as personal chat rooms.

“I already get 20 or so junk e-mails a day that have nothing to do with me,” Ruhland said. “When people use the Simpson e-mail account as their own personal chat room, it pisses me off. Do that on your own time; that’s why AOL Instant Messenger was made.”

Because of Ruhland’s and others’ frustration, mail lists are being reevaluated by Johnson and others at Information Services.