Letter to the Editor | The New FIU Alumni Email Policy: Apparent Caveats and Possible Way Forward

"The inconsistencies as well as the delayed process create a system of uncertainty for students." | Graphic by Elise Gregg on Canva, PantherNOW

Haley R. Dawson and Sarwar J. Minar | Graduate and Professional Student Committee

Florida International University announced a new alumni email access policy which
restricts alumni access to their FIU email for one year after graduation (or two consecutive
inactive semesters), replacing the previous policy of lifetime access.

They cite three primary reasons for the new limited email access: 1) a decrease in alumni email use, 2) cybersecurity, and 3) cost. While these reasons are understandable, the new policy is biased against the active alumni who regularly use their email.

On May 26, 2022, FIU announced the migration of students’ email from Google Workspace to the Microsoft 365 (M365) platform on June 5, 2022. Due to the transition to M365, alumni email usage dropped tremendously.

This resulted in a large number of inactive accounts, which according to IT (Information Technology) poses a security risk for the university network as they are not properly safeguarded and vulnerable to malicious intent.

The new policy seems to ignore the root cause (i.e., transition to M365) and seeks a
solution by restricting email access to all alumni for only one year. The new policy clearly
punishes the active users, whereas security risks are emanating from the inactive users.

From the cost front, it is important for FIU to support the alumni community even after
graduation. As students use the FIU email, students gather valuable contact and networking
resources and become part of students’ online professional identity which cannot simply be
transferred to another email network, let alone in a period of one year.

FIU alumni may use their FIU email account to store important information from their degree-seeking years, to keep active alumni engagements and close communication (promoting lifelong learning opportunities and skills development opportunities and paving ways to succeed in professional life), communicate with FIU collaborators and faculty, or as a part of their online professional identity (e.g.,
LinkedIn) for jobs and post-secondary education.

Importantly, while jobs may change, FIU email can be a constant in a young professional’s life.
It is important for FIU to continue their support of students after they graduate.

The new policy is not a helpful solution to the problems identified by FIU, and instead punishes active alumni who continue to use FIU email. Therefore, FIU should reconsider their alumni email policy to an opt-in verification system for active users to maintain university connections, while also considering
the security and financial burden of lifetime email access to all alumni.

The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board, nor does the Board necessarily endorse the content of letters to the editor. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of members of the university community and beyond. All letters to the editor are published with respect to PantherNOW’s role as a public forum for free expression at FIU.

Want to write a letter to the editor? You can respond to this letter or write your own. Email fiusmeditor@gmail.com with a piece no longer than 400 words. Text is edited for length, not for grammar, spelling or clarity. Letters may not include promotion, calls to action or hate speech. Students must send their full name, year and major and Panther I.D. Faculty must send their full name, department and postion at the university

1 Comment on "Letter to the Editor | The New FIU Alumni Email Policy: Apparent Caveats and Possible Way Forward"

  1. Bader Botaiban | February 21, 2024 at 1:40 AM | Reply

    Regarding the recently imposed changes to Electronic mail services provided to Alumni,

    That policy is not listed in the FIU Policies database and library, making it questionable in terms of its applicability and imposition.
    FIU Email Policy #1910.015: https://policies.fiu.edu/policy/891

    These changes are only listed under the given link of the FIU IT service-now.com website, which is not a part of the fiu.edu network domain; this makes it a grey-area, and the legitimacy and compliance of that policy with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations is unclear and questionable. That does nothing but raise doubts regarding its legitimacy and the state of integrity of the university’s current IT infrastructure, systems, services, and security.

    Thought I would bring this to light so that proper action can be done by all FIU panthers.
    Thank you for your time.

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