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OIT installs shred bins in all residence halls

Becky Hogan | Monday, April 7, 2008

The Office of Information Technology’s Information Security Program has teamed with the University Archives department to install shred bins in all 27 residence halls to help students securely dispose of sensitive materials.

The program is part of a campus-wide program to draw awareness to how the University accesses and processes information of all forms.

“We’re in the second year of a four year program that looks at all the ways we handle information – everything from physical security to computer security and paper records,” said Michael Chapple, OIT’s Informational Security Professional.

University archivist Laura Edgar, who also helped to organize the initiative, said the shred bins will assist students in disposing of sensitive documents in a safe manner.

“We want to give students the option to securely destroy of sensitive materials,” Edgar said.

Chapple said the Information Security Program noticed that there was a need for shred bins in the residence halls after conducting a survey last semester.

“We do a survey of faculty, staff and students every semester looking at various issues related to information security. One question we ask is how everyone disposes of sensitive information,” he said.

According to the survey, only 20 percent of students said they are cross-cut shredding sensitive information, Chapple said.

“We decided the easiest way to help students was to put the shred bins in the residence halls, so we talked to [Residence Life and Housing] and made plans to do that,” Chappele said.

According to Edgar, as of March 13, each residence hall now has one shred bin, usually located in or near the hall’s mail room.

“We’d encourage [students] to shred anything they think is remotely sensitive – financial statements, medical records, junk-mail credit offers, anything that has information on it you wouldn’t feel comfortable other people having access to,” Chapple said.

Edgar said any documents that have a Social Security number or a bank account number on them should also be disposed of in the shred bins. She also said students could use the shred bins to dispose of old tests.

Chapple said each month the contents of the shred bins are collected and a shred truck comes to campus to destroy the materials.

Edgar said while she has not received feedback on the bins in the residence halls, she has received encouraging responses from other campus offices who use the bins.

“I have received positive feedback from the campus business offices which have been using these bins since the fall,” she said. “I think everyone appreciates the knowledge that their sensitive information is being disposed of in a secure manner.”