College Threatens Students Who Use College Initials In Private Email Addresses

from the too-much-free-time dept

Slashdot alerted us to the bizarre story that Santa Rosa Junior College was supposedly sending out threatening emails to students and staff who used private email accounts that included the initials SRJC (so, for example, using or whatever). Oddly the original article pointed to has been taken down (though, the comments remain…). But, the same newspaper has published another article where the school stands by the policy and says it will continue to crack down on the “misuse” of its name… though it says it won’t take anyone to court, despite the threat letter saying “to avoid any future legal action…”

The school officials still don’t see why it’s a big deal that they’re threatening students. However, their reasoning makes very little sense. “The reason for it is so the college doesn’t get misrepresented in some way or make it look like the college is endorsing a product or issue,” according to Santa Rosa Junior College President Robert Agrella. But that makes no sense. If a student uses an actual address from the university, wouldn’t that risk be much greater? In other words, does the college really think that it’s a bigger risk for someone to say something that the college does not endorse from or Because it seems fine with the latter, but not the former. The whole thing smacks of college administrators who don’t understand technology and have way too much free time on their hands.

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Comments on “College Threatens Students Who Use College Initials In Private Email Addresses”

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Ima Fish (profile) says:

How would Santa Rosa Junior College even know why I would have the letters SRJC in my email address? If it was trademark issue, it would not matter because the standard would be confusion in the market place. But no one would confuse a mere student for a business. So there’s no trademark issue here.

So does Santa Rosa Junior College seriously believe it owns all use of the sequence of the letters S, R, J, and C, exclusive of trademark?!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

A quick google search shows that SRJC is used for a lot of things other than Santa Rosa Junior College:

lavi d (profile) says:

More "Reasoning"

“The reason for it is so the college doesn’t get misrepresented in some way or make it look like the college is endorsing a product or issue,” according to Santa Rosa Junior College President Robert Agrella.

How about making Robert Agrella look, at the least, ignorant of how the internet and trademarks work, and at the worst, a total dumbass?

paf56 (user link) says:

Google ANY Acronym

Take any four letters strung together to form an acronym and Google it.

SRCJ — An acronym, pronounced SURK-jah, which stands for “socially retarded computer junky”.

Accounting Software :: SRCJ Services

Scientific Commons: SRCJ Santos

McAfee SiteAdvisor tests for adware, spam, scams, and e-mail practices.

welcome sign (SRCJ-3808 ) Manufacturer / Manufacturers directory …

It does seem college administrators who don’t understand technology, perhaps they need to go back to school?

john (profile) says:

If letter pertains to private addresses (aren’t they all???) of “students & staff” of the college, then I would presume they want to keep the ‘private’ part defined; ie, if the college gives you you an email address from their server(s),I would assume sjrc to be part of that addy. All other addy’s given out by yahoo, msn, gmail, etc should not try to associate the college in it’s name just because you attend or work there. Of course if you do not have an assocaition to the college then having sjrc in your address should not matter.
Privacy is not just an individual’s right but an entity’s as well. Individual’s & entity’s both need to pay more attention to their web presence and therefore need to keep said presence in check.
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Brandon Stewart, FIRE (user link) says:

FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, has issued the following press release about this issue:

Free Speech Chilled at Santa Rosa Junior College: Administration Threatens Those Who Use Its Initials in Private E-mail Addresses and Domain Names

SANTA ROSA, Calif., July 20, 2009—Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) has failed to lift an unconstitutional ban on “unofficial” use of the initials “SRJC” in private e-mail addresses and website domain names, chilling the expression of students and faculty. After a faculty member came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help, FIRE asked SRJC to lift its overbroad ban and to clarify the First Amendment rights of SRJC community members. SRJC, however, has told FIRE it intends to continue with its unconstitutional efforts to ban unofficial use of the college’s name …

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