A bill that would establish a new mass campus email distribution policy at Tech was shot down at the end of the Fall semester. Even though the Undergraduate House of Representatives (UHR) passed the bill, it failed to garner the required amount of votes in the Graduate Student Senate (GSS).
These mass campus emails, commonly known as “megamods,” usually contain information about crisis or logistics announcements, registration and curriculum information, time sensitive messages from the SGA or messages from the administration.
“Students are inundated with emails from Georgia Tech every day, and we must find a way to cut back on these emails,” said Aaron Fowler, graduate student body president.
At the beginning of last fall, undergraduate members of the SGA decided that one of their primary goals for that semester would be to reform Tech’s megamod policy. By the middle of the fall semester, the UHR formed a committee to collect information on and devise a new megamod policy.
After gathering opinions from students and administrators, the group drafted several recommendations that formed the basis for an initial policy proposal.
The group then collected feedback on this proposal before presenting a revised version to the legislative bodies.
“I sincerely believe that the policy proposal brought progress students were looking for. Unfortunately, the senators did not agree,” said George Ray, undergraduate chief of staff and member of the megamod policy working group.
The working group considered two primary concerns when developing the new policy. They made sure to protect the integrity of email as an effective means of communicating information and to allow students the option to receive as little or as much of that information as they desired.
The main feature of the new policy proposal would be the creation of a message distribution system, where students could choose to opt in or out of nine email category lists. The category list currently consists of Arts and Culture, Athletics, Academics, Campus Community, Community Service, Extracurricular, Leadership, Diversity and Organizational Recruitment.
The emails sent through the mass email system will also have fixed character limits. The messages will be allowed no more than 550 characters.
Under the proposal, the Dean of Students would serve as the megamod system administer, overseeing the process of message submission, distribution and restrictions.
“The GSS put pride before progress, denying students relief from a barrage of unwanted emails,” Ray said. “Despite acknowledgment by several graduate senators that the policy brought progress for students, a handful of vocal senators lashed out against the policy and its presenters even after we made concessions.”
The graduate students had a different take on the bill’s failure to pass. “The failed bill was convoluted and would not have decreased the amount of emails sent to students,” Fowler said. “We need change that is permanent, simple and one that better addresses a reduction in student emails.”
Many students have expressed interest in seeing the current megamod policy changed.
“I feel like students should have some measure of control over the types of Georgia Tech messages we receive,” said Jonathan Cornwell, a first-year CHBE major. “The policy needs to be revamped, and political ploys should not be part of the process to improve the student experience.”