In Search of Stud Message Standards

By: Kira Paley  |  March 15, 2018

As do most YU undergraduates, I delete almost every single S-Stud email I receive without reading it. Call me cynical or closed-minded, but at this point in my college career I know which events I will/will not attend and will rarely attend an event, or participate in something, because I read about it in an S-Stud. Whether it’s because I’m a terrible person, or simply because I’m always overwhelmed by a barrage of thirty emails at once, all of which contain too many exclamation points in the subject lines, I don’t really read S-Studs.

Ironically though, and perhaps this makes me a hypocrite, I send S-Studs and Y-Studs, to recruit writers for The Observer or perhaps to publicize a new YU Scope development. Or, I try to send S-Studs and Y-Studs; unfortunately, my S-Studs and Y-Studs do not usually make it to the inboxes of my fellow students because they are not approved by the Office of Student Life.

It is therefore logical that I become annoyed when I saw that a Y-Stud containing a photo of me made it through the OSL’s vetting system and was sent to the entire undergraduate student body. Regardless of the questionable ethics of projecting a photo of someone and publicizing information about them in a public email without warning or consent, the email made me question the school’s policy about what is appropriate to be sent in a Y-Stud/S-Stud, and what is not.

A quick browsing of the YU website reveals that while there is information about how to subscribe to receive Y-Stud/S-Studs, there is no official written policy available online about the purpose of these emails and/or what the criteria for sendable Y-Studs/S-Studs are. When Observer Editor-In-Chief Mindy Schwartz asked OSL Director Rabbi Josh Weisberg why her S-Stud containing a link to The Observer’s monthly poll was rejected, Rabbi Weisberg responded that “Typically, YU’s stud message system is a vehicle for which to either publicize approved events, University announcements and sharing important information.”

This answers one question and establishes that stud emails that don’t publicize approved events or share University announcements and important information will probably not get sent. But The Observer, which is a newspaper technically independent of YU, has gotten stud messages approved in the past, qualifying Observer-related emails as “University announcements.” Therefore, in the failure of the sending of my email attempting to recruit writers, the issue was probably content-related and not purpose-related.

As aforementioned, there are no written criteria for what makes a stud message appropriate. Obviously, profanity, explicit sexual content, and offensive material would prevent an S-Stud/Y-Stud from getting posted. The OSL has not established a public set of rules for students to consult to ensure that their stud messages will be posted. It is therefore frustrating when a stud email featuring a picture of a student without his or her permission gets posted, but my innocuous recruitment stud message gets rejected on unknown grounds.