MRU governors sign off on using Gmail
Good riddance, SquirrelMail
Do you get an involuntary facial tic whenever you’re forced to contend with your MyMRU email? Sluggish, outdated and lacking options or storage space, the current email system, a version of SquirrelMail from Lotus Notes, is unsurprisingly unpopular.
But wait — there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
Google email for students has been approved by the president’s executive committee, the senior operational decision-making body of Mount Royal University.
Though they have not yet signed a contract with Google, it’s hoped a new system will be in place by September, said SAMRU VP student academic affairs Jennifer Langille.
“I think it’ll be great,” Langille said. “It’s something the university has been looking into for about two years now.
“They’ve had troubles with the current system — it’s not very user-friendly. Students don’t like it, faculty doesn’t really like it.”
The new accounts will function exactly like a regular Gmail account with a few differences, there will be no advertisements and MRU will own all the information, not Google.
While students will still be able to log in through the MyMRU portal the way they currently do, they will also have direct access to their inbox through Google’s site.
Patrick Perri, a computer sciences and information systems instructor, said one of the benefits of moving to Gmail would be the added features Google offers, such as the calendar, document management and blogging tools, are useful for students and faculty.
“If they’re giving us all that stuff and it’s private, separated and secure, that might be worth it,” Perri said.
Without knowing the contract terms, it is tough to speculate on issues, but Perri pointed out that, as a major email provider, Google is often targeted by hackers.
He also said that, depending on the agreement, MRU could be left without legal recourse if something went wrong.
“Let’s imagine there was a privacy concern or a criminal concern,” he said. “As Canadians, our ability to affect change with foreign companies is limited because we have no legal standing to say ‘Hey, we’re not happy with that.’”