Student Senate update

Student contact info will become more private; support for efforts to keep out unwanted emails


Story by Glen Olson, Staff Writer

Student Senate took the first steps Monday to let students have more control over who has access to their contact information from the school.

The Senate voted unanimously to approve a resolution supporting the development of an “opt out” ability from third-party mailing lists through MyBlugold CampS.

Jacob Wrasse, student body vice-president, said the idea developed quickly once the Senate recognized it was a problem.

Wrasse said the move addressed concerns informative emails were getting lost in the clutter, in addition to not being in control of where their information is going.

“It’s very important that university emails are easily seen and accessed,” Wrasse said. “And that students aren’t getting in the habit of deleting all emails just because there are so many that don’t apply.”

Senators said emails from businesses, landlords and political parties, which students receive multiple times a day, were problematic.

The email lists are available to anyone who asks for them through open records laws.

The university, as a public institution, needs to give them out for a fee of around $75.

Wrasse said the change would not be immediate because the businesses buying the lists so far this year already have all the information of current students.

He said for students who do opt out, they will not be included on the list when businesses buy the new list next fall or if it is purchased after they are taken off.

John Moss of General Property Management LLC in Eau Claire, said he thought students could already opt out of the emails, and providing information to students can be beneficial if they’re looking for it.

“I do know that it reaches some of them,” Moss said, “because they say ‘Hey, I saw your email.’”

Moss said although most people would agree while third-party offers can be annoying, they do offer services for students.

Hillary Young, an off-campus student senator and tenant affairs intern, said while some of the students benefit from hearing about housing, she thinks people believe that the university developed the opt out ability because the emails were causing more harm than good.

She worked with the Off-Campus Student Life Office’s Director, Peggy O’Halloran, and the registrar’s office to adapt UW-Madison’s version of the opt out to UW-Eau Claire.

Young said one of the main things they discussed was the chaos of the process of finding and signing for student housing in the beginning of fall semester.

She said she thought the rush at the beginning leads to unsafe housing, problems between tenants and confusion among freshmen who are moving off of campus within a month of arriving at Eau Claire.

Young said once they focused on that, they realized the email lists were one of the main contributing factors.

“If people cannot get as many of those emails, the atmosphere, I guess, can be changed,” Young said. “The end goal is that we sign leases in February, so this would be one of the steps in that process.”

Senators said students are responding well to the change.

Laura Pittman, sophomore, said she also thinks it causes too much clutter and a loss of important information when there are so many unwanted emails.

“I think it would definitely help,” Pittman said. “I end up deleting them anyway, so it’s a waste of effort and time giving them to me. Because if I wanted them, I would go search for them.”