While at the University of Michigan as a student, I participated in electronic conferencing on MTS, the University's mainframe system, as well as on a local bulletin board system (BBS) called M-Net.
The following information is available:
The Student Conferencing Project (SCP) was formed to (a) allow students, faculty, and staff to form an online community using University resources and (b) allow students the opportunity to facilitate, run, and organize these online communities. The SCP, at its peak, had about 1000 participants in its 5 conferences:
As part of the SCP, I organized MEET:STUDENTS volume 7 (Fall, 1987), with Gregor Rittinger and Susan Ramirez. It was a tremendous experience and led to many other opportunites within electronic conferencing at U-M, including:
One other aspect of the SCP was that it spun off conferences that were of special interest of the members. Some examples of this included TALK:POLITICS, which discussed politics in more depth than allowed for in the general conference, and LGM:RAP, which provided a forum dedicated to the discussion of issues pertaining to gay men, lesbians, bisexual people, and the transgendered.
From their creation in 1988 to their shutdown in 1998, I ran the public and private gay, lesbian, and bisexual electronic conferences at the University of Michigan for what was then the Spectrum Center. These conferences were only open to members of the University of Michigan community, as they required that you subscribed to and were able to access the University's login service.
The public conference was a conference for the open and free discussion of issues pertaining to gay men, lesbians, and bisexual people. Beginning with (MTS) Volume 3 (or 4), they were intended to have been archived in U-M's Bentley Historical Library for future researchers to look at life through the technologically-aware GLB person's eyes in the late 1980s and 1990s.
The private conference similarly provided a discussion medium, but was only open to gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people. It was maintained as a "safe space," free of hate crimes and bashing attacks, and provided a social outlet in addition to peer assistance with any difficulties, such as those related to coming out.
Both conferences moved from MTS, U-M's mainframe system, to Unix in the summer of 1994. The Unix version was not archived at the Bentley because nobody figured out how to do the archiving before the service was shut down at the end of August 1999.
Each archived conference is sealed for fifty (50) years so as not to unnecessarily "out" someone, and to prevent any possible harm to the conference participants.
Information on other GLB resources is available.
Conferencing with ConferU ended at the University of Michigan at the end of August, 1999, when the machine confer.itd.umich.edu was turned off for the last time.