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The Blue & Gray Press | August 14, 2018

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Email chain disrupts UMW student and faculty emails

Email chain disrupts UMW student and faculty emails

By ALEXIS ERB 

Staff Writer

On January 16 a mass email chain was sent out to students of the University of Mary Washington. Out of these hundreds of emails some contained  vulgar, inappropriate, and condescending remarks made towards members of the UMW community.

Jerry Slezak, the director of IT Support Services explained how the chain email was able to enter the system.

“There were some settings around the distributions list,” said Slezak. “Somehow and we are still investigating how it happened, the ability to reply to all was enabled. It’s not supposed to be, it hasn’t been, and something got switched in the settings somewhere. We are still looking into it.”

The IT Support Services are in the process of determining how the email chain happened and what needs to be done to prevent it from taking place again in the future. The University addressed the email chain in an email that was sent out on January, 17.

As stated in the email, “UMW policy restricts the use of UMW email distribution lists.”  Due to a configuration error though, the emails became accessible and the normal restriction was nulled. The email explained what happened and how the chain was a potential violation on UMW policy.

“A list was used to disseminate spam and other inappropriate messages to some UMW students. This act is a potential violation of both UMW’s Network and Computer Use Policy and the student Code of Conduct,” said the email.

One of the jokes sent in the email chain.

Since the email inicident, the UMW students have had quite a lot to say about the email chain. Students had various viewpoints on the mass email.

“They were annoying, pointless, and childish,” said sophomore studio art and elementary education major Mckinzie Turner.

Jewel Washington, who is a sophomore psychology major, and Grayson D’Alessandro who is a junior sociology major also shared some of the same views as Turner.

“It was childish, annoying, and not a good representation of the school as a whole,” said Washington.

D’Alessandro thoughts were focused on the abuse that the system endured during the email chain.

“It was definitely super frustrating to see people take advantage of the email system,” said D’Alessandro.

Another of the jokes sent during the email chain.

Students had mixed opinions over if, and how, they felt students should be punished for abusing the email system.

“Not anything super serious like getting kicked out, but probably something like a seminar about how to not misuse technology,” said Turner.

“Yes, but I think there should be a level of understanding what is misuse and what is just being silly,” said D’Alessandro. “Whatever punishment there should be should not be like a “flat line” it should be taken case by case.”

The Hall Cheshire has stated that due to legality and privacy issues of the students that they are unable to give out any details about any possible punishments for the students that abused the email system.