A.S. concerned about Web photos

Members of the A.S. Council met Oct. 9 to discuss its response to the administration’s decision to make student identification photos available to professors on Studentlink.

The council seeks to implement a waiver that will let students choose if they want professors to see their ID photos.

Commissioner of Student Advocacy Kyle R. Biebesheimer is concerned that students feel that their privacy rights are being violated, especially since students were never asked if their photographs could be posted on the Web.

Assistant Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management Richard Backer was unavailable for comment.

A.S. Vice President External Dylan deKervor said she shares Biebesheimer’s concern and that she feels that a waiver option needs to be introduced. DeKervor said she also fears minority students will be uncomfortable with the project.

“”Certain people on our campus do not feel comfortable here and [the project] further ostracizes them,”” deKervor said.

Representatives for Studentlink maintain that they worked closely with the Student Policies and Judicial Affairs Office to ensure that this addition to Studentlink’s functions would not violate the Family Education Rights to Privacy Act.

The photos were added to Studentlink in June 2001 after UCSD faculty members informed the Academic Senate of their desire to view the pictures. Faculty reportedly felt that relations between students and professors needed to be improved, and that this project will enhance the student-faculty relationship.

Assistant Registrar and Admissions Officer Myra Webb confirmed this, saying, “”This was a faculty-initiated request through the Academic Senate.””

Biebesheimer encouraged the effort to enhance student-teacher interaction.

“”I support anything that helps students and faculty have a closer relationship,”” he said. “”I don’t want to get rid of [the photos] altogether.””

Faculty now have the option of viewing and printing class rosters with names and photos from Studentlink, although they are not required to do so.

According to a disclaimer on Studentlink, the photos are only available to UCSD professors and students, who may view their own photo by clicking on the “”Personal Information”” link on Studentlink.

However, a brief paragraph under the “”What’s New”” heading on the Web site uses the term “”authorized user”” when referring to who may access student photos.

DeKervor said it is misleading to say that only professors have access to the photos.

“”Pretty much anyone can pull it up if they want to,”” deKervor said.

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