Why Alumni Emails are Being Discontinued

In an email circulated to UCD alumni on the 4th of October, UCD announced that it would cease the operation of alumni email accounts by the 10th of January 2023. 

The email provides a brief explanation of the factors that brought the University Management Team to its decision. They list “low usage of the service, potential security issues with unprotected accounts, GDPR requirements and ongoing costs that are not financially viable for the university” as the driving factors for its decision. 

After the 10th of January 2023 alumni will no longer have access to their UCD Google Workspace accounts including the email account, all emails within the account as well as contacts and documents stored within Google Drive. 

To prepare for the end of the service UCD IT Services recommend actions to back up and remove all data within alumni accounts. Some of these actions include advising contacts of an alternative, non-UCD email where you can be reached and to update your alumni record of a non-UCD primary email address to continue receiving UCD related information.

The email also suggests to back up any files stored on Google Drive, stating that “it is always good practice to ensure you have multiple copies of important files you wish to keep.” 

UCD Alums’ Opinions

The decision by UCD is causing controversy as alumni took to social media, specifically Twitter, to voice their opinion. Concern is particularly raised due to an initial promise made by UCD that accounts would be accessible for life. A promise made a decade ago.

One tweet from an alumni discussing their dissatisfaction garnered 111 retweets, 12 quote tweets and over 1,500 likes. 

The College Tribune spoke with some alumni who offered their thoughts and concerns about the recent decision. 

Fiona Lynch (‘19) who worked with the UCD Foundation feels that “it will really impact the connection alumni have to the college.” Lynch mentions that there is already a serious issue with alumni relations which the pandemic made worse. She believes that by “asking alumni who already aren’t engaged to log in and change personal details, [she’d] be comfortable saying only a small portion will, herself included.” 

Ella Ryan (‘21) believes her UCD email account is “so reliable and handy to have… and reminds [her] to check out other UCD news and alumni services while [she] is using it.” Ryan suggests, acknowledging it is not ideal, that UCD should “cancel it for future graduates and keep it for everyone [it] was promised to.” 

Mark Doran (‘18) acknowledges that “If you have lengthy use of the email address, it’s quite a big job to trawl through emails in order to decide which may be of importance to you.” 

Aisling Ní Bhroin (‘20) says that this decision “is a huge disrespect to alumni” and that it is very audacious of UCD “given they love to phone us begging for money.” She further states that “UCD is a wealthy university, but clearly doesn’t care at all about alumni unless we’re funding their vanity projects.” 

Some alumni are “pleased” with the decision as PhD graduate, Claire Howlin (‘20), states that she already has “four other university email accounts so it isn’t possible for [her] to monitor them all.” Howlin previously requested that UCD shut down her account. 

An alumni who wishes to remain anonymous states that “After an explicit guarantee ‘for life’ the only way UCD will retain any credibility is to reverse the decision.” 

What Can be Done About the Situation? 

On the 6th of October, the UCDSU posted a petition on their story to preserve alumni access to UCD email accounts. The petition was launched after the UCDSU received a number of complaints from current and past students expressing the extent of the inconvenience if the decision is not reversed. 

UCDSU President, Molly Greenough, says “This issue is concerning for alumni on a number of levels. Many alumni have used the address they acquired in university as their primary email address for many years off the back of this assurance and it forms part of the connection that they still maintain with their alma mater.” 

As of 11 PM on the 6th of October the petition maintains 2,555 signatures. 

If you would like to sign the petition, you can do so by clicking the link here: https://my.uplift.ie/petitions/stop-ucd-removing-alumni-email-access 

Danielle DerGarabedian – Editor-in-Chief 

Featured image credited to Greta Hoffmann

Original image available at: https://www.pexels.com/photo/crop-man-typing-in-keyboard-7675861/