Changes to Southern e-mail explained

Philip Zoppi – General Assignment Reporter

Southern decided to remove the owls in students e-mails this past week. This change caused for much confusion, even though it shouldn’t have.

John Jaser, Director of Systems and Infrastructure at Southern, thought the IT department did a good job of communicating the change to students but is open to figuring out even easier ways to communicate changes they make with students.

“Every time there’s negative feedback we open our ears and say, what could we learn and what could we have done differently,” said Jaser. “I’m just not sure what we could have done differently here. Getting the word out on change is a difficult thing but I think we did a good job of it.”

Before the change happened and students e-mails ended with instead of, a message would pop up before students could get into their e-mails telling them that this change was going to take place. This message appeared for two weeks before the change happened. Jaser suspects that many students simply ignored the message.

Some students don’t understand why there was a change to the e-mail in the first place. Jaser and the IT department had a reasoning behind why they made the change, though.

“Your e-mail address is defining what your role is at Southern and we don’t want that,” said Jaser. “That’s not really a modern approach to identity. When I see the owls’ in your e-mail address I can immediately tell you’re as student, but what if you’re a student worker, too? Then what e-mail address should you have?”

On top of that, many students end up working at Southern after they graduate and that causes for even more problems. Those students still have their owls’ e-mail from when you were a students but a e-mail is automatically created when they get a job at the university.

Jaser said this causes for a big mess because your e-mails are going to two different places and the IT department would have to fix this problem manually.

The problem for current students at the university wasn’t so much about the change to the e-mail but how it was communicated to them. Justin Triunfo, a junior at Southern, had problems getting into his account. Triunfo never saw the message that the IT department had up for two weeks before the change occurred.

“I’m not really sure why they changed it in the first place, but I had a little trouble logging into my account,” said Triunfo. “They never let me know they changed it so I couldn’t get onto my account until I went to the help desk to see what was wrong.”

Jaser and the IT department didn’t receive any complaints about the e-mail as most students went to the help desk with any problems they were having.

Jaser believes this change ended up being a good thing but realizes that any change will have it’s problems.

“I’d like to think that this has been fairly successful but with any change you’re going to find people that didn’t like it,” said Jaser. “We don’t live in a perfect world and wish we could make everything work for 100 percent of people.”

Students are encouraged to call IT or visit the help desk if they continue to have recurring problems with logging into their e-mails.

Photo Credit: IT Desk Website


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