For the past two years, the University has been gearing up to comply fully with a new Massachusetts privacy law, designed to ensure that businesses and other organizations properly handle personal information identifying their customers.  For its part, Fletcher has had offices with such information develop and document systems to protect it.  Let’s just call it an Admissions nightmare.  But with the knowledge and support of others at Tufts, along with our own privacy expert, Roxana, we have been figuring things out.

The range of fixes we’ve put in place range from the complex (scrubbing our computers of personal information) to the annoying (razoring Social Security numbers off of test score reports and transcripts).  But even as we maintain heightened vigilance (!) around the information that flows into the office, there’s one thing that you, as an applicant, can do.  Please don’t put your Social Security number onto each page of your essays.  Unfortunately, we don’t have a way to prevent them from printing, and we’ll need to obscure the number or cut a hole in the paper on which they’re printed.  Putting your name on the essay is a great idea.  More than that is not necessary, and may even be unhelpful.

So far so good on our compliance with the law, despite our information-driven work, and not nearly as disruptive as we had once feared.  And it’s good news for our applicants — regardless of whether you’re from Massachusetts or elsewhere in the world, our compliance with “201 CMR 17.00: Standards for the Protection of Personal Information of Residents of the Commonwealth” will protect you, too.

 

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