University Senate worried potential retention software violates FERPA

Joanna Williams

Concerns about privacy took center stage at the first University Senate meeting of the semester Thursday afternoon at the Faculty House.

Doug McElory, co-director of the academic retention task force, briefly discussed the task force’s mission and encouraged the senate to suggest ideas they believe are affecting students.

McElory also answered questions from the senate who had worries about the retention support software package that would provide data about students who are homesick or are struggling academically.

Many senate members expressed concerns that the software violated Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act laws and about the cost of the software.

McElroy assured members that the potential vendors of the software had “put forth their FERPA papers” and that increased student retention rates will offset the prices.

The task force has yet to decide which software package it will purchase.

Also at the University Senate meeting, Gordon Emslie, Provost and vice-president of Academic Affairs, discussed the current status of the Challenging the Spirit progress report.

The Challenging the Spirit report is a plan that names the goals and missions of the university, according to the overview draft on the University Senate’s website.