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To: The Wellesley Community
From: Sheilah Shaw Horton, Vice President and Dean of Students
Re: Changes to Class Google Groups
Date: December 18, 2019

We are making some important changes to the class Google groups that I want to share. Starting January 5, 2020, class Google groups will be used for official College business only, and access will be limited to administrative functions and a small number of College Government leaders under the auspices of the Office of Student Involvement. The existing class groups’ content will be archived, under the names, etc., and will be available for read-only access.

This decision was made after two years of careful consideration. We heard from students in small groups, Senate meetings, and town halls last year who had concerns about public shaming, a callout culture, silencing, and a general overabundance of email. Because online communication already exists in the form of active class Facebook groups, and all registered student clubs and organizations can now use WEngage to publicize events, this change should not affect the ability to communicate about upcoming social and educational programs.

We hope this change will promote in-person communication, and we are committed to helping students build skills to engage across difference.

Information on access for specific groups:

  • College Government leadership and administrative departments (for example, Class Deans, Registrar, etc.) will still be able to email the College community via these groups, but for official business only. We recommend that academic departments use their own departmental Google groups and encourage students to sign up for them.
  • Class councils will continue to have access to their specific class Google groups.
  • The House Presidents’ council will be able to access students through the Office of Residential Life and StarRez.
  • To promote communication about programs for all students, the Office of Student Involvement will work with the College Government communications committee and CORA to produce a weekly newsletter of programs and activities for all students. More information on that newsletter will come in the spring.

I appreciate the contribution of the members of the ad-hoc committee of College Government, who worked on this issue during the fall semester. They met with students and groups, issued a survey, and held a town hall to determine who will need access to these Google groups. Their advice was very helpful as we developed the final plan.

In the fall of 2020, we will revisit this issue to determine if we need to make further adjustments to ensure that student communication is as effective as possible.

Thank you for your patience as we make changes to ensure that Wellesley embraces, engages, and empowers students.