Yale University’s switch to Google’s eMail system was delayed in 2010 when faculty members and administrators said they were concerned with the security of cloud computing, in which school eMail messages would be stored on off-campus servers.

Some Yale faculty also expressed concern with Google’s large carbon footprint, caused by its many energy-intensive data centers.

The University of California Davis ended a Gmail pilot program for faculty and moved its 30,000 student off of Google Apps in May 2010, citing similar security concerns.

UC 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.”

The Campus Computing Project’s 2010 survey, unveiled in October at the EDUCAUSE educational technology conference in Anaheim, Calif., shows that campus technology officials at private and public four-year universities and public four-year colleges use eMail hosting services from Google for their campus eMail accounts doled out to students, faculty, and staff every year.

Nearly 60 percent of survey respondents from public universities who use eMail hosting services said their campus uses Gmail accounts, with 35 percent using Microsoft Outlook and 5 percent using Zimbra.

The disparity is even greater at private universities, where more than seven in 10 respondents said their school uses Gmail accounts, according to the research. Twenty-five percent said they use Microsoft.

Kenneth C. Green, founder and director of the Campus Computing Project, said outsourcing eMail for students is easier than doing so for faculty for two reasons: many students already have Gmail accounts, and “faculty resistance” to using a web-based service controlled by a company rather than the university still exists.


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