Student Flyer e-mails anger recipients

A recent onslaught of unsolicited e-mails from the Student Flyers distribution list has many UCSD students angry, one student embarrassed, and another dishing out his own brand of e-mail justice.

Sam Scoufus
Guardian

Hundreds of students were added to the distribution list Oct. 16 after last year’s e-mail addresses expired and were removed from the system. During the following week, over 25 unsolicited e-mails were sent to students on the list.

The Student Organization and Leadership Opportunities office uses the Student Flyers list to promote events sponsored by student groups, academic departments and administrative departments.

The topics of these e-mails range from a message about swordplay from the The Society for Creative Anachronism to a note from the College Republicans promoting the appearance of radio personality Roger Hedgecock at their rally.

Many of the e-mails have been characterized by HTML code that shows up in the text.

“”It’s a pain in the ass,”” said graduate student Jill Patty, in reference to receiving the unwanted messages.

Daniel Quistorff protested what he sees as abuse of the account. In an attempt to limit unwanted e-mails, he sent a reply Oct. 23 to a Student Flyers e-mail that advertised Nu Alpha Kappa’s bone marrow drive to everybody on the list.

Quistorff’s one-line e-mail read, “”Bone Marrow for everyone!””

“”People are on a list they don’t want to be on,”” Quistorff later said. “”It’s duplicating messages and giving us information we don’t necessarily want.””

Duplicate e-mails — four from the athletic department advertising the Chancellor’s 5K and games over the weekend, three from Alpha Kappa Delta Phi promoting Breast Cancer Awareness Month, two plugging last weekend’s Open House and two from the UCSD Bookstore announcing its upcoming events — further agitated recipients.

“”I think its unnecessary; its a nuisance,”” said Muir senior Rob Patty. “”I should unsubscribe myself.””

Other students, including Patty, were especially irked by an e-mail from a student who accidentally replied to the whole list when apologizing for not being able to make an event because he had tickets to Bob Dylan’s recent show at RIMAC Arena.

The student, who asked not be identified, said he regrets the error.

Quistorff said he hoped his e-mail would bring attention to this flaw in S.O.L.O.’s list server, which allows people to respond to the whole list.

Ellen Erenea of S.O.L.O. sent detailed instructions Oct. 19 telling students how to remove themselves from the account. It is unclear how many have been removed from the Student Flyers list.

Since Oct. 15 there have been five complaints about Student Flyers, said S.O.L.O. Director Yolanda Leyva. Still, Leyva acknowledged students’ frustration.

“”We realize there are too many different flyers going out,”” Leyva said. “”We are concerned about it.””

S.O.L.O. is looking at other ways to disperse such information, such as a weekly calendar, Leyva said.

Leyva also urged people with suggestions to contact her office.

For some students, the messages help them stay informed about campus activities and sort through the various events that go on every week, which is the goal of Student Flyers.

“”I don’t mind [the e-mails] because [they] bring me information I may not have access to without it in my e-mail,”” said Roosevet senior Stacy Berger.

Both Rob and Jill plan to unsubcribe, but for Quistorff, the crusade will go on: “”If someone is going to fill my mailbox with something I don’t want, I will do the same to theirs.””

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