Tuesday, July 10, 2012

MSU Email, We Hardly Knew Ya

My MSU email account, after being happily active all these years, over 15 years post attendance is now going away.

It seems they've finally decided to kick the alumni off the email system.

Originally the University on May 30th in a sent a terse email to the affected alums:

You are receiving this message because you have been identified as someone who has not taken a course at Michigan State University in two or more years. MSU IT Services will be deactivating msu.edu e-mail accounts and AFS (Andrew File System) storage space for those who have not been students in two or more years to maintain university storage efficiencies. Starting on June 26, 2012, your e-mail and AFS accounts are among those scheduled to be deactivated. Between now and June 26, we encourage you to go through your accounts and save or migrate any files you wish to keep.

Less than 30 days to migrate your email account that you've had for years and notify all services and persons that use it to communicate with you, nice.

They then, five hours later on the same day backpedaled on the cutoff date and provided some further information/justification:

Dear Spartan, We have heard from some of you today that we could have done a better job giving you notice about deactivating your MSU e-mail and AFS space. You are right. We apologize for providing less than a month's notice. That's not enough time. We understand that this came suddenly and unexpectedly to some, in part because of confusion over the "Technology Guarantee" provided by Peter McPherson. For that reason, we will provide additional time before deactivating your account. This action will not be taken until Friday, August 31, 2012. To clear up the confusion about the "Technology Guarantee," it's useful to go back to the source, a speech given by Peter McPherson in 1996 in which he stated: "MSU alumni will have affordable lifelong technological access and two post-graduate years of free e-mail access." Technology access included student NetIDs and login to StuInfo or Web Enroll. McPherson's speech is located at http://www.msu.edu/~presofc/guarantee.html. The university needs to take this action for several reasons. Primary among them are freeing up university data storage resources and maximizing services for current students. Few of our peer institutions offer extended access to e-mail and storage accounts for the same reasons. When MSU first made the decision to provide e-mail and storage after graduation, access to these services was limited. Today, low cost or free e-mail and data storage options are abundant. Again, we apologize for the short notice on our part, but we hope you can appreciate that we are taking steps to serve MSU students and to be fiscally responsible. Sincerely, Dave Gift Vice Provost and CIO MSU Libraries and IT Services

But regardless of the tone and apologies for lousy messaging, they are moving ahead and shutting down the accounts. Instead of 2 years post-attendance, I, for one, got 15 years out of it. I wonder if I have a claim to keep it due to adverse possession at this point? Sadly not. But, I think by this point most alumni figured it would stick around and not be deleted as there hadn't been a word about such before.

When you have to reach back to a quote from a 1996 speech you're kinda reaching for a justification I daresay.

Having a permanent email address was quite useful. My MSU account was my one "main" account with most online personal and business transactions run through there (except for the blogging and related stuff) and was quite convenient.

I'm now busy updating all my online accounts such as with Midway, CDNN, Ebay, Paypal, Netflix, NRA, Divers Alert Network, investment accounts and the like to my new email address on a different service.

It's a major pain, especially for those services that only give occasional email updates, and I'm busy trying to remember where other accounts with that email address may lurk.

On the upside, its an opportunity to rotate and upgrade all of the passwords with some upper cases and numerics if they didn't have them before.

It's unfortunate that MSU didn't think outside the box for a bit:

Had they charged each alum $20 or $25 a year that would likely more than cover any real storage costs and the minimal admin overhead maintaining the existing accounts might cost. After all, storage is dirt cheap these days. They likely would have not only opened a new revenue stream but gained a lot of goodwill with their Alumni.

As it now stands, this much in the way of headaches certainly wipes out the potential for such goodwill.



Scott said...

Get off my data farm!

You freeloader!

Actually I think your $20 per year idea is a good one.

Scott said...

It was funnier with the Clint Eastwood voice mock HTML tags!

Aaron said...

I thought of it as a ROI on my tuition dollars....I figure as long as I'm still paying my student loans, they could at least keep the email account in place.

Too much to ask for, I know.