In Michael Morris’s essay “Mining Student Data Could Save Lives,” Morris argues that by allowing universities access to student’s online histories, campuses become much safer. In accessing this data, colleges can tell if a student is planning to cause harm to themselves or others and then step in to prevent the student from taking any drastic actions. At one point, universities didn’t have the right to access students’ private data, but after the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, schools sought to gain the right to access this information. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (Ferpa) was revised to grant them this access. Morris believes that since universities have access to this information, they should use it to their advantage rather than just ignoring it.
I agree with Morris’s argument. I am all for Vanderbilt monitoring our activity to keep us safe. Personally, I have nothing to hide, and even if I were about to do something drastic, I’d want to be stopped before it was too late. Our community and others can only benefit from this type of monitoring. I can understand how some people could be up in arms about the breach of privacy, but it serves the greater good and helps communities become safer than they were before monitoring was implemented.