Letter to the Editor: UMN should not retire lifelong emails

The University should consider alternatives that would be more supportive of alumni.

by Alyssa Arnold

I am writing in response to the article published March 3 entitled “UMN developing proposal to retire lifelong emails.”

As a graduating senior at the University of Minnesota, I strongly disagree with the proposal from the University to retire email accounts for alumni and retired faculty and staff. This proposal will have significant consequences for the University community. Alumni will be alienated and will feel the University no longer values their contributions. It can limit opportunities for students to network with alumni networks as well as hinder alumni access to various resources.

The University stated cost savings and information security are the main reasons for this proposed change, but they are neglecting to explore alternative solutions. Reducing the storage capacities of the Gmail accounts is a first step in cutting the costs of Google’s new storage limits. The University could also consider charging a small fee to alumni and retirees for continued access to their University email accounts. Another option could be for the University to implement an “opt-in” selection for alumni and retirees, so the University would only pay for the accounts that are selected to be used.

It’s important the University engage in a more transparent and collaborative decision-making process, including input from the affected community. Ultimately, I urge the University to reconsider this proposal to retire lifelong email accounts and rather explore alternative solutions that will prioritize the needs of the University community, including its extensive alumni network.