Over a year ago, the University launched its own web portal named my.umich.edu where students could access a variety of online services, including web-based e-mail and classifieds.

While the web portal was an excellent idea, my.umich was plagued initially by a number of problems: Excessively slow access times, an awkward e-mail interface and a seemingly flawed public information campaign to educate the University community about the portal. Students were turned off especially by the length of time it took to access their e-mail relative to the University”s faster but antiquated telnet-based e-mail system. As a result, the University”s support for the site seemed to flounder in the face of these problems.

But while my.umich has corrected its core problem its slow speed of access the University has yet to renew its commitment to the site either financially or symbolically.

For a University that considers itself to be on the cutting edge of technology, the lack of a strong, web-based e-mail system suggests otherwise.

Most major educational institutions have a system for its members to check their e-mail over the web, having long ago abandoned archaic, telnet-based e-mail access. And while the University did introduce mail.umich.edu an e-mail-only web site the site does not work for students outside the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

If the University is to continue to be a leader in educational information systems, it must provide, at least, universally accessible web-based e-mail access and reaffirm its commitment to accomplish this goal to my.umich.

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