ITS, Google staff looking into ISU Alert email issue

While some students reported that ISU Alerts emailed to them during Monday's emergency on central campus wound up in their spam folders, faculty and staff didn't experience similar problems.

The difference lies in the email systems. Students are on CyMail, a version of Google mail, and faculty and staff have Exchange (Outlook) accounts.

"It looks like Google may have tightened its spam filters in the last week," said Kent Ziebell, senior systems analyst in information technology services.

Spam filters are constantly changing in an effort to stay one step ahead of the spammers, Ziebell said. In this case, some new rule or criteria must have resulted in some ISU Alerts inadvertently being marked as spam.

Ziebell and Angela Bradley, ITS director in network and communications, are working with Google support staff to pinpoint the problem.

"They're responding fairly quickly," Ziebell said. "We're doing everything in our power to make sure this doesn't happen again."

In the meantime, Google staff have "whitelisted" ISU Alerts to allow them to bypass the filters. A whitelist identifies appproved senders that won't be filtered out as spam.

Bradley encourages students, faculty and staff to use all three delivery options for ISU Alerts -- text, email and phone.

"It's good to have multiple ways to be contacted in an emergency," she said.  ISU Alert preferences can be changed in AccessPlus.