University should adopt tough love

Letter from the Editors

This week some University parents were greeted with an unsettling letter that reported the theft of a laptop. The laptop contained the personal information, including driver license numbers, of students registered to use University vehicles. While details of this incident have not been disclosed fully, it raises the following question: why are students the last to know about these things?

Students were not made aware of the problem until after their parents called to tell them about the letter. It seems that in a situation such as this, it would behoove the University to, at the very least, e-mail students to inform them of the possible theft of their identity.

This incident raises a larger issue. College is supposed to be a stepping stone into adult hood. The University has no problem flooding students’ mailboxes and inboxes with flyers and other junk mail that is trashed almost immediately. Why, then, would an incident that places students at risk be kept hidden from them?

By mailing this letter home to parents, the University sends the message that students are not yet ready to handle things for themselves. It is hard to justify why an institution that is committed to advancing the development of students would continue to hand off important matters to Mom and Dad.

Not all students behave with the same level of maturity; still, that is no reason to distrust the majority of students who have proven themselves responsible and capable of handling “adult” matters. Granted, most parents are paying their sons and daughters’ credit card bills and should know if their personal information is stolen. Nevertheless, the person whose name is on that credit card or whose photograph is on the drivers license also should know if this information is now in strangers’ hands.

Like an overprotected parent, the University sometimes acts in a way that prevents students from experiencing the negative. And while we like to believe the University has the students’ best interests at heart, we also believe students have the right to know when their privacy has been invaded.

Whether it is four years or four months away, the real world will not be kind to students who have been sheltered. Rent and bills will have to be paid, expired licenses will have to be renewed and identify theft will have to be reported and dealt with accordingly. Letters will not be sent to parents to remind their children to take care of business. It is just not the way things work.