The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Online directory to change format

    Students may feel safer to know that officials are letting them choose what information they provide on the online campus directory commonly known as “stalker net.”
    The directory makes personal information like telephone numbers and addresses available to the public from MSU’s Web site. But now, students can pick what information, if any, is available.
    “The changes that we are making to the online student directory will allow the students to select what information they want to be displayed online and what information they don’t,” registrar Butch Stokes said. “It was an all or nothing before.”
    “Student information will be restricted,” Information Technology Services director Tom Lindsay said. “You will have to logon as a student or faculty member to view student directory info.”
    The faculty and staff directory will remain an open system which anybody on the Internet can access, Lindsay added.
    The two driving forces behind the changes were actions on campus and surveys taken of other schools, Stokes said.
    “This really started as part of the Student Association’s request to make the directory more private and give students more control over the information out there,” Stokes said. “Several of the other larger SEC universities were restricting the availability of information on their students.”
    College campuses have to follow the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which governs control of student information, how it is released and who it is released to, said Thomas Bourgeois, associate dean of students.
    “Overall on a college campus we are governed by the FERPA. Students have the opportunity to opt out of having their information displayed online or in the printed directory each year,” Bourgeois said.
    “During about a two-week window from Sept. 13 till the end of the month will be the key time for students to change what they want to be included in the printed directory,” Lindsay said. “The printed directory will be made from the online directory Oct. 4, so whatever is listed then will be printed.”
    The changes in the directory will also increase security against solicitations, Bourgeois said.
    “Enterprising people with spam to send can go to the school directory and pull any student’s information they want. The new system will not allow this to happen,” Bourgeois said.
    All students should update their information regularly and choose what they want available on the directory, Stokes noted. He suggested students keep all their information up-to-date and using home address, rather than an MSU P.O. Box.
    “Sometimes without a true home address the university is unable to get important information to students,” Stokes said.

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    Online directory to change format