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MoCo’s Drastic Email Changes Ignite Campus Complaints

John Desmond

John Desmond

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Last year, I wrote an opinion piece for The Comenian addressing Moravian College’s email situation, because students were receiving dozens of emails daily, and the time it took to go through the emails was quite consuming.

In an email sent to students on Jan. 25, President Grigsby explained that Moravian College’s email policy had changed. Now, all students need to use the Moravian College app when they want to announce campus events. His email also included information regarding a Google form that allows student clubs and organizations the opportunity to include their event in a “weekly email events calendar” that will be sent out on Monday mornings.

Just once a week? On Monday morning? Apparently, that is the response from the administration on how to best distribute information across campus.

I’m sorry: a mass email to the campus once a week is not sufficient to effectively inform the Moravian community about all the events that take place here. And because of that the campus clubs and the like may have to return to more “primitive” methods of communication, such as posting flyers and pamphlets about campus events.  

Constant reminders and promotion of events are necessary to continue to draw attendance to campus activities. For example, this past Friday on South Campus there was an event #StayStrong, in which author Libario Obeid held a presentation about his book, “#staySTRONG: Being Mindful that Life’s Challenges Impact More than Just You,” which correlated to this year’s InFocus theme: Healthcare.

How many people knew about the event this past week? How well aware were people that they had the opportunity and chance to see Obeid on South Campus? I know that I didn’t have much information.

A once-weekly email from the Office of Student Affairs is not enough to effectively communicate or remind the campus community of events happening on campus throughout the entire week.

So how does the administration want us to learn about campus events? The Moravian College app.

But many students are still without the app, and many faculty and staff are unaware that a Moravian College app even exists. Why? Because the administration has not effectively educated most of the Moravian community about the app and how to use it. The few people who seem to know about it are orientation leaders, resident advisors, and members of the United Student Government (USG). 

USG at their meeting this past week once again received training to learn the app. At the meeting, they also listened to two individuals who presented the results of an independent survey that sampled 10% of the undergraduate population and found that 90% of them prefer to use their email over the app.

The report also included findings that approximately one-third of the sample population did not even have the app.

This creates an unfortunate situation for students, faculty, and staff who are not familiar with and don’t use the app: they won’t learn about campus events.

Moravian College released a new app to address the overflow of emails, but they have not capitalized on an opportunity to educate the users of the app.

In fact, I do not know of any student on campus that was asked if they wanted an app. And after the app appeared, it was poorly rolled out, with the directive that everyone had to use it coming in the middle of the semester.

Now the administration is coercing the student population and its employees to use the platform.

I’m insulted and frustrated that students were kept in the dark about this decision.  

None of the students asked for an app. I do not recall anyone leading a discussion in potential platforms to better communicate and distribute information to students.

Ironically, I really miss my emails now.

The clock is ticking Moravian College. Perhaps next time student, faculty, and staff voices will be heard prior to making any major decision such as this one.

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10 Comments

10 Responses to “MoCo’s Drastic Email Changes Ignite Campus Complaints”

  1. shun yang on February 6th, 2018 2:02 am

    well said. the app spam is just as bad as the email spam, but somehow the school decides to move the spam to another form that is even less effective for club and other organizations to promote their events.

    [Reply]

    John T Desmond IV Reply:

    Dear Shun:

    Thanks for your feedback. The amount of notifications we used to receive for emails were quite large, but now we receive more app notifications and we still continue to receive a few emails daily. Why should we be getting notifications on both platforms? It is quite confusing. I would agree that club leaders and organizations will have a tough time to promote their events, because now you have to set aside time from you and your club’s busy schedules to be educated on how to use the app. The change in policy was mid-year and no one really knew about the change until we came back for the Spring Semester. Moravian College just pulled the cord on emails and neglected to gather student/faculty/staff input prior to implementing the new policy.

    [Reply]

    shun yang Reply:

    one thing I don’t understand about the app is that, what is the main purpose of the app? what function in the app is actually being used campus wile?

    google calendar is a much better and commonly used way to schedule our day so the calendar in the app is quite pointless.

    no one in my dorm (The hill) use the app to communicate, speak of hundreds of student life on the hill.

    no one bothers to look at campus announcement, pick up game, people were making fun of buy and sell, lose and found’s owner are those who don’t have the app.

    we call campus safety by phone number, not by the app. campus map is available online by doing 1 google search.

    in end of the day, seems to me that our app is as same as those mini-game apps that just want you to watch the advertising more than actually playing the game.

    with all the complaining about email and app spam. 90% of that notification is sent by the random department (I don’t want to point names but everyone sure have an idea of who I am talking about) of the college to promote events and servers that no one is interested in. and the email comes from student organizations such as USG, MAC, club meeting hour are actually the only one people care.

    [Reply]

    shun yang Reply:

    Sorry for the grammar, kinda hard to fix it with this reply system.

  2. M on February 6th, 2018 11:19 am

    First, everyone complained about emails; now everyone complains about the app. What exactly is everyone’s solution? I’m sure USG would be happy to hear solutions- not just more about the problem…

    [Reply]

    John T Desmond IV Reply:

    Dear M:

    I pointed out in my opinion piece that I wrote last year that Moravian College needed to undergo a little email revolution. My solution was to investigate if they could filter emails by faculty and grades to ensure the necessary personnel were only receiving emails pertaining to them. USG does not need to hear solutions. They were not involved in the creation of this new email policy. In fact, no one of the student or faculty body was included on how we should better manage emails and communicate across the greater campus community. That was/is the sole responsibility of the administration, which as of this current date, still has yet to update the campus community on how they are able to educate themselves on the app.

    Cheers,
    John

    John T Desmond IV

    [Reply]

    Kyle Upton Reply:

    This app was rolled out in August and the email policy changed upon returning from winter break, but information regarding the app or new email policy was not proactively articulated to the campus and took many by surprise upon returning from winter break. The end users of the app (students, faculty, and staff) need to be informed and educated to afford them the opportunity to use this app proficiently and to achieve the maximum benefit from it. As stated in the article, USG was presented with this displeasure from members of the student body and this topic was discussed at great length (including potential solutions moving forward) during that meeting. Ultimately it is not the jurisdiction of USG, the student government was not consulted with prior to this policy change; USG is merely a channel to convey and represent student voices, which USG has done and continues to do so. It is in the hands of the administration. I also do want to note how you are quick to chastise everyone for an apparent lack of solutions presented while you fail to propose a solution yourself.

    [Reply]

  3. Gary A. Becker on February 6th, 2018 11:21 am

    The desire to limit discourse at Moravian College will only result in a greater effort to communicate, and that effort will be successful. History teaches us that individuals or groups who try to limit the free speech of others and create obstacles to society’s ability to communicate, are most often unsuccessful.

    Support global communications at Moravian College.

    [Reply]

  4. Brigid Darrah on February 6th, 2018 3:42 pm

    This is great John. I am also frustrated with this change. The number of notifications coming through on the app led me to disable the notifications. Filtering is a huge problem. Most of the notifications I was receiving through the app were side ya trying to sell textbooks. In this way, it is far worse than email. I am also concerned about advertising for events. Drawing a crowd is hard enough without having students alerted. At least in an email they read most of the subject lines.

    [Reply]

    John T Desmond IV Reply:

    Dear Brigid,

    Thanks for the feedback you provided! I can relate to your frustration and the complete lack of student input when making this decision. I know that clubs and organizations will have a much harder time trying to advertise their events without the use of email. Many students across campus read their emails, but now we are forced into advertising and reading about events through the app.

    [Reply]

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