To the dismay of many students on Haverford’s campus this year, the Haverford Directory search feature, fondly known as “Haverstalk,” was significantly altered. While students could once search the name of a fellow student and subsequently gain access to their room number, phone number, and other personal details, all that shows today are a name, an email, and a class year. In an email to the Clerk, Spencer Golden, Associate Chief Information Officer and Director of Enterprise Systems at Haverford, shed light on the reasoning behind the change.
“As part of the implementation of Workday last summer a number of our data integrations between systems had to be modified or rewritten,” Golden wrote via email. “The College took that opportunity to review each integration and evaluate if we were sharing the most appropriate data in each case.”
Through this review, Golden continued, the school decided that “students should really be responsible themselves in deciding if and how to share any personal information about themselves such as addresses, phone numbers, and photos… so the directory was pared down to non-personal information such as Name, Class Year, Haverford Email, and Job Title.”
After speaking with a number of students on campus, there seems to be some agreement regarding the student body’s stance towards the loss of the “Haverstalk” feature. To some students, the removal of this feature was a safety precaution which was necessary. The loss of student photos, however, was viewed differently – students would appreciate pictures being publicly available due to the nonexistence of a yearbook for Haverford alums.
Golden finished by sharing that “It is also worth mentioning that if a student doesn’t want to be in the directory at all, they can suppress all of their information through the FERPA suppression page in Bionic.”
For reference, FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) is a Federal law which, according to the U.S. Department of Education, “protects the privacy of student education records,” and applies to “all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.”
The issue of losing Haverstalk became especially apparent with this year’s flower fundraiser run by Haverford’s crew teams.
“Haverstalk was invaluable to Haverford College Crew’s Valentine’s Day flower fundraiser,” said Zoe Trosclair ‘20, a member of the team. “It was much simpler to deliver flowers to students’ dorms where we could efficiently check where they lived…”
Ari Kim ‘20, another member of the team, echoed this sentiment.
“The flower sale this year was particularly difficult without Haverstalk. A lot of people don’t know where their friends live…it [was] so easy to figure those things out, but since it’s gone now, it became really inconvenient to go and find out room numbers without the recipient knowing.”
Of note, other recent technological changes have also allowed Haverford students to have a more intentional, and safer, presence online. Haverford rolled out a feature where students are able to record their own name and have those recordings be accessible through email and the Haverford Moodle, so that they can be better represented in the Haverford community. This initiative was also put into effect by the Haverford administration and has received much institutional support.