Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A title and a response to adversity

Our field hockey team kicked off this week in grand fashion, winning their fourth consecutive NCAA Division II national championship Sunday with a 3-2 victory over UMass-Lowell. It’s the program’s 16th title overall and the last for our legendary coach Jan Hutchinson, who recently announced her plans to retire after the softball season – a team she has also coached to national prominence in more than 30 years at BU.

We welcomed the news of the field hockey championship after the disappointing ending to our football season with three losses. We’ve confronted losses off the athletic field - as well this fall - as we’ve dealt with several reported thefts on campus, which have included laptops, computers and small electronics. Not only have campus resources been stolen, but items owned by students, faculty and staff have been taken, as well. Theft plagues many campuses, but we certainly don’t view this as accepted behavior here at BU, where safety and security remain among our top priorities.

Last week, we responded to a report of several computers and small digital devices being stolen from offices in Centennial Hall, including a laptop reportedly containing social security numbers from student rosters of psychology classes from spring 2004 through summer 2006. The university replaced social security numbers with alternate student identification numbers in fall 2006, because we take our responsibility as personal data stewards very seriously. Unfortunately, the student rosters on the stolen laptop were stored prior to this change.

We are making every attempt to contact all 574 students who were enrolled in these psychology classes by first-class letter and e-mail to alert them to what took place. We also encouraged them to sign up for free credit monitoring with one of the three major credit bureaus to watch for any suspicious activity. BU is diligent in maintaining the privacy of student information and, as we move forward, we will take appropriate steps to ensure that information on individual university computers is more secure.

As members of the BU community, we all have a great stake in the campus -- it's where we learn, work, socialize and for many of us live. The recent thefts have been unsettling, but through increased communication and collaboration we can deter thefts and work together to maintain the safety of this campus.

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