Students’ failure to sign data privacy notice will not result in de-enrollment: officials

Officials retracted a statement from a privacy notice and consent form sent to students studying remotely from China this semester that stated that students who did not sign the form would be unable to access their online classes.

A graduate student from the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences posted screenshots of the form Monday, which states that officials will collect “personal data” from students, including their contact information and citizenship, that may be transferred to other parties “when necessary.” Office of Ethics, Compliance and Privacy staff sent an email to students Wednesday stating that the form “wrongly stated” that students who do not sign the form would not have access to their online classes or would be de-enrolled.

“The consent form was distributed in the spirit of providing awareness to our students of the privacy notice,” the email states. “However, the consent form wrongly stated that if you do not sign, you would not be able to access your online courses or could be de-enrolled. That was in error and we are correcting it.”

GW has a universal privacy policy for all community members for which collection of certain information is “necessary” to provide academic experience and accompanied services, but the University also occasionally develops “country-specific practices” to protect students’ personal data, according to the email.

“As an institution of higher education, the George Washington University is committed to protecting and safeguarding the personal information of our students and employees that is in our custody,” the email states.

The Student Association passed a resolution Monday urging officials to protect students’ personal information if a third party requests it.


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