A call to end mass e-mails
Viewpoint Copy Editor
Imagine this: about 2,000 random people have access to your e-mail address. They can annoy you with various advertisements for makeup services, tickets and goldfish for sale or spinning classes, all very unsolicited, mind you. You can do nothing about this, but must waste 20 to 30 minutes of your day reading and deleting such aggravating messages. Of course, this is the circumstance here at Saint Mary's.
Now, until today these mass e-mails were not a major source of frustration for me, but only an annoying little task to be accomplished. However, as I checked my inbox this afternoon, I found something radically different from the usual "need 2 tenn tix." The e-mail appeared under the rather innocent title of "Women's Health at Saint Mary's College." However, it was sent by a somewhat audacious group of students advertising, among other things, free access to the morning after pill, pregnancy testing, condoms (you could even pick these up from the students' dorms), and abortion clinic escorts. It was that last one that really incensed me.
I don't deny that these students have the right to free speech and I am a whole-hearted supporter of academic freedom. No doubt many Saint Mary's students are interested in what these women have to say and this isn't a column against abortion activists, although I could easily write one. Nonetheless, I should not be forced, in my own personal email box, to read an advertisement for something which I find extremely offensive.
In any other e-mail program I would be able to block this type of e-mail. These students' action is extremely rude and discourteous. In my opinion, this group of women shows absolutely no respect for their fellow students. Can they not find some other, less offensive, way to advertise their questionable activities?
Why must I be forced to have my supposedly personal e-mail box polluted with this trash? We have been told time and time again that the Board of Governance is looking into the matter. But they drag their feet. They have known about this problem since the start of the year and yet have done nothing. Wednesday The Observer reported that the BOG believes they could implement their Listserv plan by this January at the very earliest. Rudeness and disrespect aren't going wait for the BOG.
I suppose one of these students might be a minority. Perhaps they would have a similar reaction to mine if I sent out an e-mail advertising free information about various racist groups in the South Bend area. I don't doubt that I would have many people besides minorities up in arms. Is this the path we are heading down?
This matter cannot be ignored any longer. Something must be done about the mass e-mail problem now, before someone is truly hurt. In its attempt to increase communication, this email policy was created, but has been seriously abused. These audacious women have clearly crossed the line between communication and outright disrespect. For the sake of the college and the dignity of its students, Saint Mary's Student Affairs Office must find a way to screen such e-mails before they reach the entire student body. Immediately.
All Inside Stories for Thursday, November 8, 2001