The privacy of many students was jeopardized late last Thursday night when winds blew old test forms and grade reports from an open dumpster.

Many Astronomy 101/111 tests dated from 1997 to 2000 were found among computer-printed lists of student names, social security numbers and class grades.

Students listed on the sheets were angry that the University disposed of their sensitive and private information in this fashion.

“I am definitely kind of mad,” recent LSA graduate Mark Sandri said. “The University should not throw things away in public dumpsters. … It is pretty private information to be just thrown away where anyone can get at it.”

The papers were not shredded or torn in any way but were disposed of in boxes into the dumpsters near David Dennison and the C.C. Little Chemistry Building.

“Information like that should probably be shredded, not left out and allowed to blow around out of a dumpster,” LSA senior Amanda Aikman said.

Also discovered in the scatter which covered much of the lawn and sidewalk in front of the two buildings were letters written by an official in the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities describing a student’s mental illness.

University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said that students’ privacy concerns are a serious issue to the University, and the papers laying out could only be described as a mistake or accident.

“The University would never intentionally handle those (documents) in a way to make them available to the public,” she said.

While the social security numbers leads to questions of student privacy, the Astronomy tests and answer sheets question the honor of the exams.

“I’m very concerned about this because it sounds like the confidentiality of students, and possibly the integrity of an exam, have been compromised, albeit not intentionally,” Robert Owen, LSA associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, said.

“It sounds like we need to develop and implement more secure procedures for disposing of trash that may contain confidential material,” he added.

The tests and papers were cleaned up the following Friday morning before classes had begun.

Similar privacy concerns were raised three weeks ago when more than 40 boxes of confidential papers were found in the unsecured basement of the Student Activities Building. The boxes contained student admissions tests and essays and were kept in an unlocked hallway.

They were removed shortly after telephone calls were made about their contents.

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