On Wednesday, Sept. 7, , Samford University changed their email providers from Google Gmail to Microsoft Office 365. While students currently still have access to their Gmail accounts, all of their mail moving forward will be sent solely to Outlook on O365.
The move was a somewhat controversial one, being met with backlash from many in the student body for a variety of reasons. One student, Jeffrey Manord, started an online petition to keep Gmail as Samford’s email provider. Housed on the popular nonprofit petitioning website Change.org, “Keep Gmail as Samford’s Emailing Home” currently boasts 551 signatures.
Manord told the Crimson about some of the student responses he’s seen around Samford’s campus as of late.
“I think it was something that was generally received on campus as negative, just from the people I’ve talked to about it,” said Manord. “One thing that a lot of people have taken away from it was ‘why did it have to be in the middle of the school year?’ That was a huge thing that a lot of people are upset about.”
Samford’s Technology Service Desk has been available to help guide students through the transition. However, many have still struggled with the adjustment process, missing emails as a result.
According to an email sent to the student body back on August 30, the reasoning behind the switch was to “enhance cybersecurity, provide one cohesive directory, increase collaboration with tools like Microsoft Teams, and better equip Samford constituents to use O365 tools in the workforce.”
Manord believed many of the reasons for the switch were valid.
“I have to say, after I contemplated the reasons for switching, it does make sense to switch over to Outlook from a career standpoint, because it is very true that a lot of offices use the Office suite instead of the Gmail suite,” Manord said.
However, he felt that the increase in cybersecurity was a bit redundant, given Samford’s use of the DuoPush system, which itself has not always been popular; many find the sign-in verification system to be annoying and needless added security.
“Another big issue is our student Drive folder,” Manord continued, explaining how leaders in student organizations have been having to transfer their organization’s files from their previous home in Google Drive to a new one with Microsoft.
“And so now that’s a thing that we’ve had to start moving over, which is a process in and of itself. So it’s something that’s just another extra burden on top of a busy workload, at least for me, and most of the people who are heading up organizations are already busy enough.”