Director warns against withholding names

By Mark Mazzone

Students should think twice about keeping their names out of the NIU phone directory, warned an NIU administrator.

Although this might ward off bill collectors and junk mail, it leaves students inaccessible in case of an emergency.

According to the Family Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, “directory information” includes a student’s name, local and permanent address and telephone number.

John Olson, assistant director of Records and Registration, said any current student can have their directory information withheld from the 1992-93 NIU telephone directory.

However, he said, students should think through their decisions to be left out of the phone book.

“Even if the state police called because of an emergency, we would have to say that we have nothing,” he said. “That’s what I think a lot of students don’t understand.”

Olson said students might choose to be unlisted to hide from bill collectors, family members or the police. However, he said these students do not realize the university also cannot even verify bank loan applications.

Furthermore, he said the only way to get directory information about a student is to prove to the Campus Security Office that there is an emergency. Security would then notify the Office of Records and Registration, which would attempt to inform the student.

About 30 students per semester choose to withhold their directory information from the telephone book. Many more inquire, but decide against it after reading the “Request to Prevent Disclosure” form, Olson said.

“It’s not just a matter of staying out of the directory,” he said. “It’s an all or nothing thing.”

Olson said students cannot withhold certain pieces of information or have certain information withheld from other people or organizations.

Students can sign a disclosure prevention form before the Sept. 22 deadline to prevent a listing in the NIU directory.

After the telephone book is released, they must sign another form allowing NIU to release their directory information.

A request to withhold information is good until the student skips a semester or hands in a disclosure prevention waiver.