Signature protects students’ privacy


NIU can give out information on a student’s name, address, phone number, enrollment and what degrees they have to anyone who wants to know.

To some students this may be an invasion of privacy or they may not want anyone to know where they are.

In 1974 the Federal Rights and Privacy Act was passed. This is a federal law that forbids a university to disclose any information on students who sign it.

John Olson, assistant director of Registration and Records, said, “A student who wishes keep their name private can go to the registration office and read a one page sheet of paper and sign it.”

Olson said each semester the registration office will publish an advertisement in The Northern Star to inform students of this opportunity to keep their lives private.

Sue Lund, director of the Alumni Association, said, “Students don’t know the consequences of signing this form. The university cannot publish a student’s name in the Commemorative Program sent out after graduation.”

Lund also said the university will not be able to tell a future boss a student earned any degrees from NIU if the student signs this form.

“There are things students don’t think about when filling this out,” Olson said. “One of them is if a neighbor calls because a student’s father had a heart attack, the university cannot give out the phone number.”

Signing this form is not the end of the world. After a student has signed it, the student can get it revoked if needed, Olson said. “A student can go to registration and sign another form at any time, and it will cancel the Federal Rights and Privacy Act,” Olson added.