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Morning Mail cuts small event announcements

This semester, the Brown community will wake up to something a little different.

Morning Mail no longer advertises events in venues that cannot accommodate 300 or more people, a policy that went into effect last week. The change comes as a response to complaints from the community after last semester's lengthy Morning Mails, said Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations.

Morning Mail, a daily e-mail listing University-recognized events, began five years ago as a way to share important information such as inclement weather updates, human resources issues and large events that required ticketing information, Quinn said. The daily e-mail has evolved since then to include smaller campus events, though these events were "not its original purpose," Quinn said.

Quinn received a number of complaints about the ineffectiveness of Morning Mail, she said, particularly last semester when, according to Quinn, Morning Mail contained "up to 40 events a day." Students felt like Morning Mail had become a "laundry list" and had begun to seem like spam, Quinn added.

The change of policy is designed to return Morning Mail to a way of informing the community of major events, Quinn said. For events that do not meet the new criteria, she said she encourages members of the community to use the events calendar and the Today at Brown Web site, links to which are included at the top of Morning Mail.

Many students are unhappy with the change. Meredith Curtis '10 created a Facebook group named "Morning Mail Should Consider Events < 300 People," which already has 50 members. Curtis said she feels surprised that Morning Mail would exclude events simply on the basis of room capacity. She said she has attended and organized multiple small events and added that alternatives to Morning Mail can make it difficult to reach the student body.

Ashley Anderson '10 is also upset with the change, and thinks the new policy contradicts Brown's ideals. "The whole idea of Brown is that there is a place for everyone, but that nothing appeals to everybody," she said. Anderson said she thinks the changes to Morning Mail strip its readership of "the diversity and peculiarity of options."

The new policy "says the Brown community doesn't care about more independent, low-budget events," Anderson said, adding that student leaders work on a limited budget and that electronic communication is often the most effective option.

Both Curtis and Anderson said they enjoy reading about smaller events that take place each day, even if they do not plan on attending them. Also, many interesting events sponsored by institutions like the Sarah Doyle Women's Center and the Swearer Center do not meet the 300-person requirement, Curtis added.

But Quinn said she will encourage the "bundling of events together." Institutions like the Swearer Center will be allowed to send out monthly announcements containing a list of upcoming events, Quinn said, adding that she still wants those groups to be able to communicate with the community.

Jason Lee '12, who reads Morning Mail every day, said the policy change is not necessary. Lee said the table of contents included in each e-mail made it easy to navigate, despite the long list of events, and exposed him to interesting smaller events.


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