The meeting was one of several efforts by the task force to reach out to students, faculty, and staff to better understand how different community members feel about email privacy. The task force, composed of 14 professors and deans from across the University, is expected to complete its work by the end of the fall semester and present its recommendations to University President Drew G. Faust by January.
In addition, more than 98 percent of respondents reported that students should at some point be notified about an administrative search of their account, and 63 percent said students should be notified prior to a search.
“Among other things, the UC presentation conveyed clearly the important role transparency can play in reinforcing trust in any policy regarding electronic communications,” wrote Barron, a former Crimson President.
“It was encouraging to hear how focused a lot of the particular task force members were on ensuring that the student perspective was well-represented in their discussions,” Raghuveer said in an interview with The Crimson after the meeting.
The meeting comes six months after the UC unanimously approved a resolution expressing “tremendous concern” over revelations that Harvard administrators conducted secret searches of resident deans’ email accounts in connection with the Government 1310 cheating scandal. In the same resolution, the UC requested that UC representatives be present for a meeting of the email privacy task force, a request that was fulfilled by Tuesday’s meeting.
Although there has been no indication that administrators probed student email accounts in connection with the email search scandal, student fears were stoked when rumors spread that the Office of Student Life had been tracking student listservs in the hours before River Run festivities—a claim that administrators firmly denied.
Following the drafting, Raghuveer and Zhu presented the memo to Barron, who recommended that Raghuveer and Zhu provide a more precise picture of student concerns about the email policy. This recommendation led to the creation of the student opinion survey that was presented Tuesday.
—Staff writer Steven S. Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow him on Twitter at @StevenSJLee.