On Feb. 28 a laptop was stolen from a staff member of the Vermont State College system, college officials announced last week. The laptop was used for work purposes and may have had some personal information of faculty, staff, students and anyone that may have had any connection with the college system within the last six years.
Information that may be on the computer includes e-mail attachments regarding accounts of VSC students and faculty.
In a memorandum written by VSC Chancellor Robert Clarke, he included a list of frequently asked questions about the incident and what is being done to prevent it from happening again.
The memorandum also mentioned that there is no evidence at this time that any personal information has been accessed or used for illegal activities.
Officials are hoping that the computer was stolen for the most obvious reason, to wipe it clean and resell it, said English Professor and faculty union representative Louis “Tersh” Palmer.
“I’m really concerned about what information was on their,” said Palmer.
The personal information was on the laptop because there are no VSC policies at this time that strictly prohibit archiving personal information. Because of the theft, the VSC is creating new policies that would make personal information more secure, according to the memorandum.
Greg Stone, the dean of students, also mentioned that some new policies will explain what type of information can and can’t be saved on the laptops.
Three students interviewed about the theft said they were unaware of the theft and how it could impact them. Although hearing about it for the first time, despite campus-wide e-mails sent on the subject, student Kim Maines said “information like that shouldn’t be on computers.”
Andrea Wright, a student who did know about the incident, said she “personally is not worried about my stuff. I’m worried that it happened. It is generally inexcusable.”
Stone mentioned that only one student has confronted him about the situation with concerns that that all student data may have been on the laptop.
Unfortunately, Stone said, nobody is sure what information was actually on it.
At this time law enforcement hasn’t recovered the laptop, but the VSC is urging students and faculty to take all precautions necessary. You can read the memorandum on the VSC portal and all questions about this situation can be directed to Assistant Chancellor Karrin Wilks. Her phone number is (802)241-2527.