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MSU Student Suspended for Sending Bulk E-mail to Faculty Members

According to a recent security report, a student of Michigan State University has been suspended because she cautiously chose and e-mailed 8% of the faculty members in the school asking them to give their opinion about new changes brought to the academic calendars and freshman orientation, as reported by Newsmax on December 4, 2008.

The student, Kara Spencer, after going through a hearing that tried to discipline her on December 2, 2008, has sought help from the FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education).

However, FIRE's Vice-President, Robert Shibley, said that Spencer's message was so distinctly different from a standard 'spam' mail that it raised doubts about MSU's real motivation for disciplining the student, as reported by Newsmax on December 4, 2008.

Meanwhile, ATS (Academic Technology Services) representative, Randall Hall, complained that Spencer breached the student rules because she did not comply with the specific laws of the ATS while sending the bulk e-mails, as reported by statenews on December 2, 2008.

Moreover, the further details of the case revealed that soon after an argumentative discussion on September 14, 2008 regarding the "changes", Spencer informed members of the ASMSU (Associated Students of Michigan State University) and the UCSA (University Committee on Student Affairs) that she was going to send "an informational message" over e-mail. She said that the message would be the group's response in her own name to the members of the faculty.

Soon after, Spencer chose e-mail addresses of about 391 members of the faculty out of a total of 5,000 and sent them the message.

Commenting on this matter, Spencer said that although she expected some conflict over her e-mail, she did not expect a conflict regarding the online policies, as reported by statenews on December 2, 2008. Spencer said that she thought there would be some retaliation against the e-mail at the political level, but never believed that it would be considered a bulk or spam mail.

However, according to Hall, any e-mail that is distributed in mass is considered as spam regardless of its content.

Related article: Mac OS X Devoid of Malware, Vexing Experts

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