UMass officials cited low adoption rates among students since Google services were made available through the university at the start of the fall 2009 semester.

Only 7 percent of UMass’s 20,000 undergraduate students switched from the university’s eMail system to Gmail, according to published reports and a university spokesman who confirmed those numbers.

And University of California Davis technology officials, including CIO and Vice Provost Peter Siegel, said in a letter to faculty that “outsourcing eMail may not be in compliance with the University of California Electronic Communications Policy,” adding that faculty who participated in a Gmail pilot said the campus’s commitment to privacy was “not demonstrated by Google and that the appropriate safeguards are neither in place at this time nor planned for the near future.”

Siegel said widespread news stories and international reports played a factor in the school’s decision not to adopt Gmail.

Some faculty were concerned by “Google’s perceived inattention to protecting user privacy and called on the company to incorporate fundamental privacy and data protection principles directly into the design of new online services,” he said in the letter.

Despite skepticism from a few prestigious campuses, Brown University technologists expanded Gmail beyond its undergraduate population.

The Providence, R.I. campus made Gmail available to about 7,000 faculty, staff, medical, and graduate students last fall, and the university has deployed “Google guides”—school staff members and student volunteers—to help new users transition to Google Apps.

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