BYU shifts email communication to university-provided accounts only

A laptop shows a student’s BYU email on Outlook in a browser tab. As of Wednesday, May 10, all communication between students and BYU entities must be sent through university-provided email accounts. (Payton Pingree)

BYU recently announced all email communication between students and any BYU entities must be sent to the student’s university-provided email. This change became effective Wednesday, May 10.

According to BYU’s website, the decision was made to act in accordance with federal regulations, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act which protects individuals’ educational information and records.

Craig Youngs, the portfolio director for unified communications in the BYU Office of Information Technology, provided some explanation as to why the university made this change.

“Last year, the President’s Council determined that university business should happen within university systems. Email communication was a large part of that effort,” Youngs said. “Systems across campus needed to be modified to be in compliance with the decision, and teams of technicians in all areas of campus have worked hard over the last few months to make that happen.”

For new and returning BYU students, this means they will need to use their Outlook emails to keep track of all things BYU-related.

“Information regarding student finance, course information, faculty communications, employment, etc., will no longer be sent to personal addresses and students should expect those communications in their campus-provided mailboxes,” Youngs said.

These email addresses start with each individual student’s Net ID and are followed by BYU has created step-by-step videos showing students how to access their student email on various devises, including mobile phones.

However, some BYU students are unhappy with this change.

Kallin Freestone, a junior in the journalism program, expressed that some students may be confused with this shift in communication.

“Unless you work in a campus job that requires you to use the email, not many students are familiar with Outlook and how to access that email address we were given,” she said.

Freestone added this may present challenges for students who are not freshmen, as returning students are “already set in their ways” and may not want to adjust to new policies.

“I think one of the biggest issues is that way fewer people regularly use their school emails, so it seems much more likely that students will miss information about tests, assignments, events, etc.,” Makayla Erickson, a pre-animation sophomore, said.

Marc Wells, a junior studying facilities and property management, sees both sides of the argument.

“I think it creates more hoops to jump through and more things to check to keep track of,” he said. “That being said, I can see why BYU did this, as an attempt to consolidate communication between students and the university.”

Youngs emphasized the importance of this consolidation.

“By keeping email within campus-provided mailboxes, BYU will strengthen its environment and provide a consistent experience for campus communication,” he said.

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