Calls come for increased student input post-breach
Branch requests students on task force, Council's focus is on being a resource
Following a security leak which exposed the social security numbers of more than 18,000 students, fourth-year College student Neil Branch, student council’s vice president for organizations, is calling for increased student input on the University’s approach to the security of personal information.
In an email to Executive Vice President Patrick Hogan and University President Teresa Sullivan, Branch said the task force that was recently established to review the University’s use of personal information needed to include student representation. “I feel that student voice could greatly enhance the dialogue about what information we feel is appropriate to release and is necessary to be stored,” Branch said in the email sent Tuesday night.
Sullivan announced the task force in an email to faculty and staff Monday, saying members would include representatives from the offices of Internal Audit, Student Affairs, Compliance, and Enterprise Risk Management. “The task force will make sure that appropriate safeguards protecting personal information are in place, and will make recommendations for improvement,” Sullivan said in the email.
Branch’s request was made independent of his role as VPO, said Council President Eric McDaniel, a fourth-year college student. “Neil was not speaking on behalf of Council,” he said. “Council, as of yet, has not pushed for a specific representative on the task force, but we are hoping for student input in the process.”
Though he was not speaking for Council at the time, Branch said the request was made in his capacity as a representative of the student body. “The students did elect me to be their representative, and [a student on the task force] is what I think is best for the students in terms of working with the administration,” he said.
Hogan has agreed to address Council members at a general council meeting at the beginning of the fall semester, McDaniel said. These meetings are open to the public, and Hogan is expected to share the findings of the task force with the body at that time, an effort McDaniel believes adequately addresses Council’s desire for student input.
Council’s primary goal coming out of this breach is to serve as a resource for affected students, McDaniel said. “Even though nobody can go back and undo what happened, I think Student Council is focused on making sure that we do all we can to make sure [the breach] has as little impact on student life as possible,” he said.
Members of Council’s Executive Committee are currently working on a blog post to explain to students how to sign up for the credit monitoring service being offered by the University, and the possible effects of the breach. McDaniel says Council hopes to have the information available for students by the end of the week.