StanfordWho now displays student residence information

Nov. 19, 2010, 3:04 a.m.

StanfordWho, the searchable public directory of Stanford’s students, faculty and staff, now displays students’ residences and room numbers by default due to an unintended change by the University registrar’s office over the summer.

The change in default display information was not a result of a change in registrar policy, according to University Registrar Thomas Black. Rather, he said, there was a change between Student Housing and PeopleSoft to account for a compliance issue with SEVIS, the federal  Student and Exchange Visitor Information Services.

“That change inadvertently accounted for the change in display in Stanford Who,” Black said in an e-mail to The Daily.

IT communications director Nancy Ware also confirmed that a change in the information sent from Housing accounted for the new information displayed on public listings for students.

Schools may publicly disclose “directory” information about students, including address, under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. The law requires that schools give students 18 and older a “reasonable” amount of time to ask the school not to release directory information, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Black and Ware both noted that under the law, Stanford considers students’ room numbers as directory information.

Black said students were not notified of the change in displayed information “because the change was an inadvertent byproduct of aforementioned compliance change we were programming over the summer.”

“We are currently taking steps to address the concerns being raised,” Black added.

Information on StanfordWho can be accessed from any Internet connection, with a “Stanford-only” listing option for those who would like to keep certain information privy only to those with a SUNet ID.

To edit which information is publicly displayed, students can log into Axess, go to the “Student Center” tab, scroll to the bottom and click on “Privacy Settings.”

Black said he hopes students educate themselves about their information’s availability.

“We encourage students to review the information on their privacy options and make decisions accordingly,” he said.

Information Technology Services maintains the StanfordWho website using data from the University registrar.

Ellen Huet is currently a senior staff writer at The Daily; she joined the staff in fall 2008 and served one volume as managing news editor in fall and early winter of 2010-2011. Reach her at ehuet at stanford dot edu. Fan mail and sternly worded complaints are equally welcome.

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