Tennessee Tech currently has nearly 65,000 email accounts despite having just over 11,000 active students and faculty members.
Board of Trustees Chair Tom Jones said many of the accounts are inactive and once belonged to former students and employees at the university.
“It just became aware to us that Tennessee Tech is hosting an extremely large number of emails well beyond people that are currently affiliated with the university,” Jones said. “I come from a security background and that seems to be a huge security risk, and that’s why I brought it up.”
Jones said having so many inactive accounts remain on the server could pose a threat to current students and faculty.
“when you have a large number of email accounts that Tennessee Tech is hosting, and you have malware or other types of malicious software going through that email server,” Jones said, “people can actually be opening or accessing that type of malware. It’s a risk to the university because it can introduce malware into the university system, especially since those people no longer receive security training.”
Jones motioned during the meeting to have the university’s Information Technology (IT) office to examine all email accounts and remove those belonging to former students and faculty.
However, Faculty Senate President and Associate Professor of History Dr. Troy Smith said many retired faculty members still remain active.
“It’s not entirely accurate to say that retired faculty are no longer associated with the university,” Smith said. Many retired faculty continue to do research, are published, and represent the university through the community and when they are published, the institutional affiliation is Tennessee Tech.”
The Board of Trustees amended Jones’ original motion based on Smith’s comments to have the IT department determine what users are still affiliated with the university and which ones are not.
The Board of Trustees will discuss the IT department’s findings in their next executive meeting which will occur before their June session.