In Michael Morris' article, “Mining Student Data Could Save Lives” Morris suggests that if universities are able to track troubling student behavior via data mining through traditionally private information then there would be more at risk and potentially violent behavior being caught early by university officials. Morris also includes that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (Ferpa), which originally disallowed the release of a student’s information without written consent, has been altered because of the killings at Virginia Tech in 2007. Universities are now allowed to report data on students that they find to be demeaning and potentially threatening.
The central argument that Morris makes is that by increasing the functionality of university threat-assessment teams through data mining it would help avert violence on campus. I agree with Morris’ argument because universities are supposed to be a safe zone for students to learn while experiencing a lifestyle with more responsibilities. Allowing threat-assessment teams to have more control over the data would ensure that student safety and well-being is a priority for campus officials.
Coming from personal experience, I grew up in a suburb of San Diego where it was expected for every high school graduate to move on to universities. The academic pressure for a lot of students was paramount. So paramount in fact, that they couldn’t live with the stress put on them by the school or by the society around them. A total of six students had committed suicide by the time I graduated high school. I feel like with data mining and the enhanced capacity of threat-assessment teams, it would allow them to find data on students who are at risk of hurting themselves in order to cultivate a campus identity built upon health and conversation. I know Vanderbilt does a great job with this especially with the Center of Student Well-being and having accessible hotlines for students to call when they find themselves in hard situations, but this is more of a statement based off of what I have experienced previously to university.