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Officers update list serve policy

O'Neil, Megan | Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Officers approved an updated version of the Student Government Association’s official policy on mass emailing at Monday’s Board of Governance meeting. The amendments came amid widespread abuse of campus list serves at Saint Mary’s.

The revised edition restricts the use of class and residence hall list serves to the five main student boards at the College. Individual students are instead encouraged to utilize alternative sources of campus-wide communication.

BOG had received several complaints from students about mass emailing. Individuals had reportedly been using the two main list serves on campus for personal reasons such as travel arrangements over fall break. The Student Handbook, explained Student Body President Elizabeth Jablonski-Diehl, does not include any guidelines for mass emailing. It was necessary, therefore, for BOG to reinforce its stance on the issue.

“We need a policy that we can stand behind,” Jablonski-Diehl said. “At least for the time being, we are responsible for enforcing the policy.”

One such alternative outlet for communication to which students are directed by the policy is the Saint Mary’s Virtual Village. Virtual Village can be accessed from any computer on campus. It provides a forum in which the student body can do everything from exchange football tickets to sell textbooks. Students can also hang hard copies of notices and requests at designated locations on campus.

In one of the most significant changes to the existing policy, Board members voted to add a disclaimer to its reference to Virtual Village and bulletin boards. It states that, while the College provides sites for communication between students, the students themselves are responsible for all postings and subsequent transactions. SGA cannot insure any exchange between individuals.

While board members easily approved the revision of the policy, debate ensued on the proper way to distribute and implement it. Several board members favored giving students a grace period in which to learn about the rules.

“We need some sort of informal warning,” said Elections Commissioner Nicole Haeberle. “We are dealing largely with first year students who simply don’t know.”

Others argued that the repercussions for violating the policy, which will include an incident report drafted by the judiciary board, should be implemented immediately.

After a lengthy discussion, officers decided to provide a hard copy of the updated policy to each student, as well as contacted violators by email through the conclusion of this week. Following fall break, violators will be cited and referred to the judiciary board.

In Other BOG news

– BOG voted unanimously to recognize Flipside as a Saint Mary’s club. Flipside had previously retained the status of an official club, but was placed on probation and then disbanded last year after failing to follow proper SGA procedure. As a Saint Mary’s club, Flipside will receive an annual allowance under the BOG budget.

– Disney’s summer hit “The Pirates of the Caribbean” will be shown tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. in Carroll Auditorium. The movie is being sponsored by Student Activities Board as a midterm study break. Admission is free.

– Saint Mary’s is celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Week. RHA is sponsoring several events. Students are encouraged to check their emails for dates and times and to wear their pink cancer awareness ribbons through Friday.