News and Events

On Campus: Sorry if this is spam

August 14, 2014

Written by Mark Keller, director of college advancement
Featured in"On Campus" in the Medicine Hat News

If you’re a fan of Monty Python you may have fond memories of the Spam Song, popularized in a sketch first televised in 1970. 

If you need a refresher, the Python cast gathers in a diner and discovers a menu that offers Spam in pretty much every dish. That leads to the lyrical and unforgettable spam song. If you’re too young to have had the experience before, or old enough to want a reminder, a quick Internet search will do the trick.

Fast forward 44 years and ‘spam’ has an entirely different and far less humorous connotation.

Despite the consistent efforts of the college’s networks to block unwanted messages, this week alone I’ve had numerous offers to get rich quick by simply helping transfer funds from overseas. I’ve also been presented with options for alternative employment. It seems I could earn thousands of dollars a day, seven days a week, all from the comfort of my home.

Someone somewhere also sends my Hotmail account frequent offers to acquire prescription drugs at low, low prices. And without the inconvenience of getting a doctor’s prescription! What a deal.

Spam. It makes for amusing comedy, a tasty dish if that’s your thing, but it isn’t much fun when it reaches your inbox.

And now we have a federal law, known as Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), the purpose of which is to “protect Canadians while ensuring that businesses can continue to compete in the global marketplace.” The quote comes from a government website on the law.

Like all responsible organizations, your college takes compliance with the law of the land seriously and we’re working to be sure our future messaging and emails comply with it.

The good news is, we’re not spamming people right now. We don’t buy lists of people and send unsolicited email hoping to generate student inquiries or business contacts.

However, many departments have built extensive lists of people and organizations as business relationships have been established over the years. Under the new law, we have what’s known as “implied consent” to continue sending commercial messages.

Our challenge, and I hope you’ll help us meet it, is shifting to “express consent.” That means we’ll be asking you to respond to messages confirming that you’d like to continue receiving messages. On the flip side, the new law also means you’ll have the opportunity to opt of messaging at any time.

Please watch your inbox carefully over the next few months! You’re important to MHC and we’d like to stay in touch.

Visit to learn more about your college, contact Mark Keller with your questions at or follow him on Twitter @mark_mhc.

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