Dear Colleagues:

Earlier this fall, our ASCSU student government approached the President’s Office with a concern about the volume of email that students have been receiving through the university’s internal RamSelect system — making it difficult for them to distinguish between important academic and financial notices and non-essential communications about clubs and activities.

President Frank charged a small, ad hoc committee, which I chaired, to assess the validity of this concern and determine whether some changes were needed in the systems CSU makes available for faculty, staff, departments, and campus organizations to communicate with students via email.

The committee clearly substantiated the students’ concerns — in fact, we were startled at the overwhelming volume of messages about campus events and activities that students receive every day through the existing RamSelect email function. The committee weighed the alternatives and the communications needs of our campus and offered a series of recommended changes that President Frank has now accepted.

While these recommendations won’t completely solve the problem of students receiving unwanted, on-campus email, they will institute some changes to help students more clearly identify important, official communications and enable them to distinguish more easily which messages are essential to their academic progress and financial obligations.

For many of you, this message may have no interest or relevance at all, so please feel free to stop reading here. But for those of you who have made use of the RamSelect email function, the following information marks a major change in access to that system. The changes, which go into effect this week, include the following:

  • Only official university communications addressing students’ academics, billing, and progress toward a degree may be sent through the RamSelect email system.The automatic subject line for these emails will be changed from “Ram Select: Message Title” to “Academic Alert: Message Title.” The ability to use the RamSelect email function has been restricted to those departments that are likely to have a reason to communicate about academics, billing, or progress toward a degree. This includes all clearly designated academic, advising, and student finance/records offices.
  • All university departments, faculty, and staff will continue to have access and the ability to create email lists using the RamSelect system. People may download the email list and send it from their own or departmental email systems, thus giving students the ability to more clearly identify the sender and potentially block unwanted messages.
  • Announcements intended for a broad, general audience on non-academic, non-business matters — such as events — should be communicated through Today@ColoradoState, which was created, in part, for this purpose.
  • Departments and organizations, including student organizations, are also encouraged to begin making greater use of our new RamLink System, which is an opt-in vehicle through which students and other members of the campus community can receive CSU information about organizations, events, classes, and activities related to their individual interests. Fifty campus departments are already using the system and access is available to anyone with a CSU eID. RamLink at essentially functions as an intranet for internal campus communication around key interest areas or for those involved with specific campus organizations/departments. This system also provides an easy Facebook and Twitter interface, which may make it a more effective vehicle for communicating with students than email.
  • While the RamLink system is easy to use, the SLiCE office, which manages RamLink, has created a series of tutorials that are available on YouTube (just go to YouTube and search for “RamLink Tutorial”) and will be offering some training sessions in the coming months to help people on campus become comfortable with the system and make full use of its functionality. Watch Today@ColoradoState for information about upcoming training sessions.
  • The Office of the Registrar will no longer download student email lists at the direct request of student organizations except on-campus academic honor societies with a faculty advisor that are recognized and approved by the Office of the Provost. Student organizations account for a large share of the emails currently received by students with a RamSelect header, and many of these are of interest only to a small number of students. Student organizations are encouraged to use RamLink as their primary vehicle for membership recruitment and communications. While faculty and staff advisors to such organizations may still download lists for use by student organizations, despite encouragement to use other systems instead, those messages will no longer be emailed out under the “RamSelect” header that implies endorsement and/or sponsorship by the University. Academic honor societies have also proliferated to the point where many email solicitations are from external, for-profit honor societies that lack substantial academic merit. The Provost’s Office will develop a process for determining minimum standards and legitimacy of academic honor societies and may decline access to student contact information when the organization does not appear to be of sufficient quality or merit. The information provided to the approved, on-campus academic honor societies with a faculty advisor will be limited to directory information.
  • Lists of student data, which include both directory and non-directory student educational record information, are already — and will continue to be — provided by the Registrar’s Office and other administrative units to academic and internal departments for appropriate business purposes.
  • Other than a few exceptions required by contractual or legal obligations, CSU does not share student information with external, off-campus entities beyond what is published in the online campus directory. In compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), students have the option of removing themselves from the directory — to remove an e-mail address, they can use eID Modify. To remove a student address, phone, and name, contact the Registrar’s Office.

While these changes to RamSelect access may create some short-term inconvenience for campus staff, the goal is to ensure that students are more clearly able to identify those critical email messages from the institution that are essential to their academic standing and progress. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we make this shift.

Cara Neth
Director, Presidential and Administrative Communications Office of the President

Ad Hoc Committee Members:

Eugene “Skip” Ackler, Office of the Registrar Scott Baily, Academic Computing and Networking Services Jody Donovan, Dean of Students Alan Lamborn, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs Regina Martel, ASCSU Cara Neth, Office of the President Pam Sampson, SLiCE Bob Schur, Office of Policy and Compliance Chris Seng, Registrar Josh Zugish, Office of the General Counsel