SHSU Web site: Helpful or harmful?

Currently, the SHSU Web site gives access to student and faculty members’ home phone number and addresses. Is this access helpful or harmful towards the SHSU community? “I think this is a good resource for new students,” said Kayla Stephenson, SHSU Computer System Technician. The phone/email look up was designed to serve as an online SHSU directory composed of students and faculty. “It is no different than some of the Internet sites like swithchboard.com, where one person can look up information on another.” The SHSU Web site is designed and maintained by students and faculty who work for Computer Services. “I think it is very useful,” said Stephenson. The listing of personal information in the online directory is totally up to the student or faculty’s personal discretion. “It is not forced,” said Stephenson. “A student can accept the Buckley Amendment within the first 12 days of classes, which will exclude them from the directory.” Even after the 12 days are up, a student can be removed from the directory if they choose to, said Stephenson. Yet, a lot of students do not know about this amendment. “Right now, I have not had an incident that would make me be concerned about having my information available on the Internet, so it’s not a problem,” said Monica Munoz, SHSU student. “Never to my knowledge has there been an incident that derived from the use of the phone/email look up on the website,” said Stephenson. “If there was one, then the University Police would handle it.”The problem with the online directory is not the access of student or faculty information; the problem lies within the type of information given. “Maybe the access to a student or faculty’s name and email address would be better than having your home address and phone number available for everyone to see,” said Munoz. The access to a large population of students and faculty is still available on the SHSU website, even though the option to exclude one’s personal information is optional. “The online directory is designed to help the students as much as possible,” said Stephenson. “A person should be smart when using the directory, one should never violate another persons privacy.”

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