SHSU’s non-disclosure agreement to be revised, deadline pushed back

An overhaul for Sam Houston State University’s “over-reaching” non-disclosure agreement is in the works, university officials said.

Jacob Chandler, associate vice president for IT Enterprise Services, said the university is going to look over the stipulations and verbiage in its university-wide NDA and hopes to have grievances posed by Faculty Senate resolved in a matter of weeks.

The Faculty Senate compared SHSU’s NDA to Texas State University’s, which, according to the Senate, is far less aggressive.

Although the two agreements conform to the Texas State University System Rules and Regulations, TSU’s employee confidentiality agreement is less extensive with only six terms, as opposed to SHSU’s 10-term agreement. Its password confidentiality term is also less strict in its verbiage.

“We’re working on some revisions right now,” Chandler said. “We hope to have that done within the next week to two weeks.”

Chandler said there will be an extended deadline for employees who have yet to sign the agreement. He said it would likely be the end of November.

Although there will be an extension for those who have not signed the agreement, those who have are bound to the original draft of the NDA, according to Chandler.

“The content is going to roughly be the same,” Chandler said. “It’s going to have the same spirit, the same intent of the agreement. [Their signatures] will be good for the year. There won’t be a need for you to sign again a new document.”

Chandler spoke at Thursday’s Faculty Senate meeting after senators restated their disapproval of the policy itself as well as its implementation. Their issues were with the language and presentation of the agreement, not the agreement itself.

At SHSU, according to the non-disclosure agreement, if a student worker, faculty or staff member’s account were to be compromised, the student employee, faculty or staff member whose account was compromised will be held accountable.

“Most of the things that are in the NDA are stated [in the acceptable use policy] as far as not misusing your password and being held accountable for your account,” Chandler said. “The NDA helps to clarify that a bit.”

Some senators favored the language of TSU’s non-disclosure agreement.

“[SHSU’s NDA] suggests a high degree of distrust,” Sen. Anthony Watkins said. “It makes me a bit uncomfortable. I think that the TSU document’s tone seems a little more trusting or friendly.”

The online agreement, dubbed a training by the university, shows a 17-slide presentation going through the 10 terms under the agreement. Users have no ability to review the slides after they’ve passed them and no choice but to click ‘agree.’

“Ours is more of a presentation,” Faculty Senate Chair Renee James said. “When you get to the end, it says ‘do you agree with this?’ If you click no, it says that’s not the right answer.”

University employees including faculty, staff and student employees are being prompted via email to sign the NDA on MySam if they have not already completed the required training.

The tentative deadline for university employees to sign the agreement is Oct. 31

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