Important messages lost to Vanderbilt email system

Overhead+view+of+a+woman+using+a+computer+whilst+working%2F+studying+in+a+modern+looking+room.+Los+Angeles%2C+America.+October+2016
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Important messages lost to Vanderbilt email system

Overhead view of a woman using a computer whilst working/ studying in a modern looking room. Los Angeles, America. October 2016

Overhead view of a woman using a computer whilst working/ studying in a modern looking room. Los Angeles, America. October 2016

Getty Images

Overhead view of a woman using a computer whilst working/ studying in a modern looking room. Los Angeles, America. October 2016

Getty Images

Getty Images

Overhead view of a woman using a computer whilst working/ studying in a modern looking room. Los Angeles, America. October 2016

Dallas Shatel, Deputy Editor in Chief

With the career fair only just recently behind students and interviews on the horizon, most students are stalking their email accounts for word of interview and job opportunities. Some important emails, though, may not make it to their accounts, as a few students recently found out.

According to senior Ankur Lal, the email accounts that all students are given upon arrival at Vanderbilt connect to a Microsoft Exchange account, which forwards emails to the Gmail account after filtering out any spam. Some of the emails that don’t reach the Gmail account, though, are not actually spam, and end up quarantined in the Exchange account. The quarantine box is essentially a spam folder meant to stop emails from reaching a student’s Gmail inbox. For some students, emails about job opportunities have ended up in this quarantine, and after 20 days the Exchange account deletes those emails.

“It was pretty apparent that it’s not a very good spam filter,” Lal said. “The other thing is I get a ton of spam. I wouldn’t mind fifteen more emails if I got a job offer.”

Lal says that fellow senior Varun Arora made him aware of the issue. Upon checking their quarantine folders, they found that between the two of them and one other friend, a total of five emails containing information about legitimate career opportunities never made it past the Exchange filters. After contacting VUIT, Lal said that their solution was to send an automatic email summarizing what is in the quarantine box.

“For the time-being, their solution was to send us an email kind of summarizing what we’ve gotten through the last day or so, but even that one is going to our spam and people don’t know about it,” Lal said.

The VUIT website FAQ states that Exchange Online Protection “has the lowest error rate of any anti-spam technology currently available.” They are currently working on a way to whitelist the quarantine emails from Exchange so that they do not go to students’ Gmail spam folders anymore.

“Gmail filtering is something that–because Gmail is a separate product–we have less administrative control on system,” said Jeremy Pratt of Vanderbilt IT. “As far as I know we don’t have a way to whitelist an account or an address so that it doesn’t get sent to spam in Gmail. We’ve contacted Gmail about this in the past and their response has always been, if there’s a message in spam and you don’t want it to go to spam, the best way to do that is to set up a contact for that sender.”

To access the Microsoft Exchange account, follow this link and enter your VUnet ID followed by ‘@vanderbilt.edu’ as your username and use your normal VUnet password.

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