Addressing concerns about public information
CSU students have the right to limit publication of their personal information in campus directories (both online and printed), but the responsibility to do so lies with each student. Below is detailed information about what personal information is public for students and what steps you need to take to restrict publication of this information.
Why does CSU publish student information?
Student directory information at Colorado State is public and may appear in campus directories unless students opt out. CSU has had a printed phone book for decades and an online phonebook since the 1990s in a few different formats, its most current one being in existence since 2007. This system is widely used by students and staff on campus to facilitate communication among members of the campus community. The system has been designed so it only returns at most a couple dozen records of the most popular names (such as "Smith"). A further interaction is required from the user to reveal email addresses, in a way that thwarts attempts at automatic collection. CSU's directory interface has, in fact, been used as a model for other universities seeking similar functionality and safety.
Occasionally students express concerns about their name and/or academic department being published on the Colorado State University directory/search web site. Publishing of certain bits of public information is actually commonplace in our society. For example, most local governments publish details of legal proceedings, including home purchase information (which includes buyer name, address, purchase price, and mortgage detail). Additionally, any town large enough to have a printed phone book has contributed to several nationally searchable online white pages web sites that reveal similar information. In short, adults in an open society leave bits of public information in many places.
Nonetheless, CSU takes student privacy concerns very seriously, and complies with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Students may opt out at various levels, from just hiding their email address to complete and total omission from the directory.
How to restrict your information
Once a student takes any of these steps, the central database system where directory data is stored will be updated universally: the changes will take effect in any CSU web sites that make use of this data, including the CSU online phonebook, any college or department listings that those units may have, plus the mobile CSU web sites and the "CSU Mobile" android/iPhone app. The printed CSU Directory is assembled each September and printed each October, so students who opt out after a particular volume of the phone book is printed will remain in that volume as long as printed copies exist.
Note also that employees of Colorado State University – including student employees – cannot opt out of having their employment information published in the directory. This may include information such as job title, employee desk phone, and other information as determined by the employee's human resources liaison.
Why didn't CSU tell me my information would be published?
CSU makes regular efforts every year, including providing information at orientiation, to inform students about their options to limit directory information. After census date each term, an email is sent to all enrolled students with consumer information, and there is a section on privacy of education records in that message that also includes this information.