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Move is important for branding, Frank says

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — University of New Mexico president Bob Frank has attempted to allay concerns about plans to change thousands of student and staff email addresses, a switch that continues to raise hackles.

Currently, the main campus uses the email format “name@unm.edu” while Health Sciences Center employees and students use the format “name@salud.unm.edu.” Other UNM programs, such as the School of Law, also have domains that differentiate them. Frank wants all to adopt the “name@unm.edu” format.

In an announcement delivered via email to everyone on the UNM email list, Frank last week reiterated his belief that a single email address is important for the university’s recent branding efforts.

“Many comments express an affinity for the @salud address and the brand it represents,” Frank wrote. “I recognize the power of a brand. In fact, the primary driver of this transition is to unify our brand as one UNM, one university whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A single email address is key to this branding effort.”

Any email sent to the old addresses would forward automatically to the new addresses, he said.

Meanwhile, staff with the Health Sciences Center, law school and computer sciences department have raised protests about the change. Among their concerns, they say, is that the decision is arbitrary and they question how it will be useful in unifying UNM.

“The problem for everyone I have heard from … is no one believes the idea that a single email does anything positive to brand UNM,” wrote Dr. Corey Ford, a senior associate dean for research.

In an internal report of the email change, administrators predicted few issues with the transition. Reviewers found there would be no financial savings or cost to the university. At the same time, the report said there is not a “competitive advantage” or “efficiencies” to be gained from the switch.

“No additional funding is anticipated by either UNM IT or the HSC, beyond the reallocation of resources, to complete this plan,” the report states.

More than 320 people have attached their names to a petition protesting the change.

University administrators said they plan to transfer 95 percent of HSC email users by the end of the month. About 17,000 accounts carry the salud.unm.edu domain, according to a UNM administrator.

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