Section: News

Addresses, phone numbers removed from online directory

On April 3, the Office of Communications announced that student addresses and home phone numbers would be removed from the online directory following concerns over harassment and stalking. The change went into effect the same day, though some departments and offices at the College still maintain necessary access to student addresses. 

According to the update from the Office of Communications, the process for implementing this change was approved in the fall semester, after members of the Kenyon community expressed concern over the potential misuse of private information. In the past, concerns regarding the use of private information — particularly student addresses — for online harassment have been raised. Kenyon Today also cited the rise of doxing and swatting — publishing private information online with malicious intent, and falsely reporting an emergency to trick police into visiting someone’s address — incidents nationwide as a reason for the change. 

Kenyon’s Library and Information Services (LBIS) collaborated with the College’s Data Privacy Committee in the fall, which supported the changes to the online student directory. 

“There’s a benefit to that information being not necessarily as readily available,” Vice President for Student Affairs Celestino Limas said in an interview with the Collegian. He added that while access to home addresses and phone numbers has been removed for students, faculty and staff, certain departments that have a specific need for student information will still be able to view them. This change to the directory was more complex and required more time than simply removing all addresses would have been. 

“The fact that they took [concerns] seriously and wanted to make sure they put a system in place that removed it, while still giving those addresses accessible viewing for people who need them in different parts of the College, [was a] reason why something wasn’t done sooner,” Limas said. 

Though the process to remove private student information from the online directory took several months, Limas emphasized that LBIS reacted quickly and appropriately to the community’s concerns. “I appreciate LBIS being very responsive to the community about this topic when people said ‘well, I’m not sure we need it, per se,’” Limas said. “I think their response about saying, ‘let’s find a solution,’ was really good.”

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