College mandates student e-mail

Story By: Sydney Excinia

Starting June 1, the State Center Community College District will only contact students through a required, official student e-mail address.

According to Harry Zahlis, the Fresno City College network coordinator, the e-mail transition will “guarantee communication with all students on campus.”

“Every student will have an account created for them. When students log in for the first time, their job is to change their password,” said Zahlis.

To eliminate privacy issues, changing the password should not be delayed, he said.

Students will no longer receive messages from the financial office, admissions and records, and Blackboard if they don’t have a district e-mail by the designated date, Zahlis said.

At the moment, Zahlis said the district office is in the process of creating a campaign to let all students know about the transition. Blackboard will be one of the ways the district reaches students.

ASG President Sergey Saluschev believes there are many benefits with the transition, which would give students an address that reads

[email protected]

“It is definitely a step in the right direction,” Saluschev said. “The district is taking a big step forward in utilizing the technology that is offered. It is a way to insure communication and it is cost efficient, faster, and convenient.”

When the transition takes place, Zahlis said, there will be an information office open during the day for students to contact with questions and concerns.

The district office’s vice chancellor, Don Lopez, is focusing on using the same help contractor as with Blackboard, which will offer assistance to students about their e-mails, much like FCC’s 24/7 communication service by phone, Zahlis said.

One alternative with the transition is to have students’ current e-mail forwarded to their e-mail.

“However, the downside to forwarded e-mail is that the communication is not guaranteed. We can not guarantee the student will receive every e-mail from the school,” Zahlis said.

Another downside to the transition is that it requires students to have another e-mail account. However, having a district account would eliminate the hassle of sending information back and forth.

Students and faculty have already been using their district e-mail for Blackboard. Also, many CSU and UC schools are requiring a district e-mail.

“The district is using a technology system hosted by Microsoft,” Zahlis said. “Now that students will be linked with the district we can extend certain things that we weren’t able to in the past.”

Having a district e-mail will also enable students to be offered software at a low cost, such as the last versions of Microsoft Office.