Agrella: SRJC will continue e-mail policy to protect its name

May 8, 2009

By Michael Coit at The Press Democrat

Santa Rosa Junior College President Robert Agrella said Friday the school would continue efforts to remove the SRJC name from private e-mail addresses but it was not threatening to take people to court.

The college has long sought to prevent unofficial use of its name, primarily on products, as specified in the California Education Code, Agrella said.

It is now targeting private e-mail addresses because more are turning up, Agrella said. School officials initially said there were several hundred violators, but the actual number is about 100, according to an Internet post by Mark Linford, a SRJC computer service employee who helped compile the list and received one of the warning letters.

Agrella said he approved the letter mailed this week that stated: “The use of Santa Rosa Junior College or any abbreviation of the college name is protected by Education Code 72000(b)(4). In order to avoid any future legal action we are requesting that you remove any reference to Santa Rosa Junior College in your E-mail address and/or domain name and cease to use it now and in the future.”

The letters triggered an uproar among students and faculty members who questioned the wisdom and legality of the policy. A number of people signed up for new e-mail accounts Friday using the SRJC name to protest the policy.

But Agrella said the school is simply trying to protect its name.

“The reason for it is so the college doesn’t get misrepresented in some way or make it look like the college is endorsing a product or issue,” Agrella said.

Such letters usually are enough to get someone to stop unofficial use of the college?s name, he said.

“We have never had to go any further in my 19 years here than asking the person to stop using the name,” Agrella said. “We have people I’m sure that are going to test us. But it’s not our intent to go out and sue a lot of people.”

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Schools: Santa Rosa Junior College Cases: Santa Rosa Junior College: Overbroad Ban on “Unofficial” Use of College’s Initials