The Pandemic Is No Excuse to Surveil Students

from The Atlantic

In Michigan, a small liberal-arts college is requiring students to install an app called Aura, which tracks their location in real time, before they come to campus. Oakland University, also in Michigan, announced a mandatory wearable that would track symptoms, but, facing a student-led petition, then said it would be optional. The University of Missouri, too, has an app that tracks when students enter and exit classrooms. This practice is spreading: In an attempt to open during the pandemic, many universities and colleges around the country are forcing students to download location-tracking apps, sometimes as a condition of enrollment. Many of these apps function via Bluetooth sensors or Wi-Fi networks. When students enter a classroom, their phone informs a sensor that’s been installed in the room, or the app checks the Wi-Fi networks nearby to determine the phone’s location.

As a university professor, I’ve seen surveillance like this before. Many of these apps replicate the tracking system sometimes installed on the phones of student athletes, for whom it is often mandatory. That system tells us a lot about what we can expect with these apps.

There is a widespread charade in the United States that university athletes, especially those who play high-profile sports such as football and basketball, are just students who happen to be playing sports as amateurs “in their free time.” The reality is that these college athletes in high-level sports, who are aggressively recruited by schools, bring prestige and financial resources to universities, under a regime that requires them to train like professional athletes despite their lack of salary. However, making the most of one’s college education and training at that level are virtually incompatible, simply because the day is 24 hours long and the body, even that of a young, healthy athlete, can only take so much when training so hard. Worse, many of these athletes are minority students, specifically Black men, who were underserved during their whole K–12 education and faced the same challenge then as they do now: Train hard in hopes of a scholarship and try to study with what little time is left, often despite being enrolled in schools with mediocre resources. Many of them arrive at college with an athletic scholarship but not enough academic preparation compared with their peers who went to better schools and could also concentrate on schooling.

It’s no secret that many universities go to great lengths to let these “amateurs” in demanding athletic fields do as little as possible academically so that they can keep training hard. But it’s supposed to be a wink-wink-nudge-nudge process, not outright fraud. A few years ago, my own university, the University of North Carolina, breached this unspoken rule. The school became embroiled in a high-profile scandal after a professor provided fake classes aimed at athletes that gave them the grades required to keep their eligibility in return for little to no attendance or work. That, of course, made the charade uncomfortably explicit, and UNC faced national attention and some minor sanctions.

More here.

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  1. Mass surveillance is never a good idea, especially in a college setting. Student apply to colleges with a certain understanding of the new responsibilities that are put on them, but also the new freedoms they will get to enjoy. Surveillance runs contrary to that image and such a policy will likely struggle to find support among students. Despite this obvious point, the larger issue is that many businesses and institutions are going digital and abandoning many of their physical locations in favor of allowing their employees to work from home. Requiring students who attend class physically to be surveilled at all hours of the day will only expediate this process in the academic world. The consequences associated with this could be massive as students will likely be discouraged from using the resources available to them. Additionally, the facilities the college have invested money in will barely see use, meaning all that money would have been invested in vain. As mentioned in the article, the effect that surveillance has on the college population goes beyond numbers and financial elements. The overall mood of the college would change as students feel afraid to take part in things they would normally do, which will inevitably lead to them either finding loopholes around the surveillance, or choosing to transfer to a different college with less intrusive policies. Due to the decentralized nature of this policy among colleges, the institutions that do choose to adopt this policy will likely see a decrease in new students, as many new applicants will want to opt out of such an intrusive policies. A crucial thing to remember when discussing this topic is that, once the precedent is set that universities have this type of power over their students, it will be very hard to reverse it. We can use the example of 9/11 used in the article as an illustration of how a major world event can cause a governing body to extend its authority. 9/11 occurred nearly two decades ago, however the mass government surveillance we saw sprout from this event has been anything but reduced. College functions much in the same way as government, as in both cases you pay for an overarching body to take care of certain aspect of your life, so it is not too much of an stretch to think that a few years from now we may see student surveillance be the norm across most campuses in a post Covid-19 world.

  2. Tracking college students’ whereabouts 24/7 is definitely not a good idea. The last thing teenagers or young adults want is for their college or university to know exactly what they’re doing at all times. This creates a sense of claustrophobia and the students might feel pressured to stay in their rooms all day. I do believe that there should be a way to track symptoms of students and faculty and that testing should be done somewhat frequently. With this being said, I also believe that it is imperative for students to be constantly sanitizing whenever they go into a building or area and that temperature checks should also be done in the same places. I think this is what’s enough and appropriate to do at universities at this time, but not at all going to the extent of tracking their whereabouts. If this is implemented in more schools, kids will eventually just find a way to work around it, find some sort of hack or trick for them not to be under surveillance 24/7. This kind of mass surveillance will never work, and it will only make students not want to be at college. One of the most rewarding things about college is being able to live alone for the first time and to figure things out by yourself. Tracking students like this would just take that all away and its just seen as a sign of the university not trusting its students.

  3. Although I understand the intention of a ‘trackable wearable’, this kind of thing becoming mandatory can have frightening effects. Very reminiscent of Big Brother, especially when it comes to concerns of ‘protecting the greater good’. Not only is this a huge privacy concern, but it also brings to light issues of discrimination. People who may not have smartphones are now being disqualified from participating in schooling unless they seek out a phone which can download these tracking apps. This can lead to an income based barrier on top of tuition and other costs associated with going to university. I feel as though the shift into a very much always connected world is frightening. It is simply alien for people not to have 24/7 access to the internet, and more importantly, connectivity. With this always connected world, you literally must have the appropriate technology to interact with the 21st century. This brings to mind something a friend had told me the other day, in which he said that certain people from his background “do not live in the 21st century, because they simply cannot afford it”. Although they literally do live in the present, their technological access is not the same as we are used to in America, and they are, for lack of a better word, removed from the contemporary business, social, and even political realms. I hope that these barriers do not continue to increase in price, however, as technology gets exponentially more powerful as time goes on, I only see barriers like these becoming larger and harder to overcome.

  4. Universities are more than just a place to learn and start looking for an entry level job. Higher education in the United States is where young adults, and those who are still children, get away from their home-town reputation and start anew. New surroundings removes most of the external forces that were previously influencing their decisions and allows them to look internally and decide what they think is right.
    Students have always had to consider whether that experience is worth paying through room and board fees or costs of transportation. Now, they also have to weigh risking their own health, and the health of those they come into contact with. While many have criticized schools for going ahead with dorming, it is beneficial to both the university finances and the students’ futures to be on campus.
    An ever-present student body fosters an environment where relationships can flourish and the opportunity to network with alumni, professors, and other students will always have tremendous future value. A contact within a prestigious firm, a letter of recommendation, and being surrounded by like-minded students are all drivers of landing dream jobs and getting an impressive starting salary for their field.
    The university also drives students to be mindful of ethical considerations, develop critical thinking, and become leaders. The ability of higher education to accomplish any of these objectives relies on its reputation and trust. Any potential course of action that would act as a headwind to this model should be carefully considered before implementation is approved.
    We saw from Facebook in early 2019 that publicized security breaches tainted its reputation. Hackers got access to hundreds of thousands of users’ personal information. Remember, Facebook is a giant technology leader. If their databases could be infiltrated, is there any hope that those belonging to universities are safe? The risks of a data leak must be weighed against the additional safety it could provide.
    Trust is not an act of charity either. I find it difficult to trust those who do to trust me. If my university, which I pay handsomely, does not offer transparency on how they will act on the data they receive, why should I agree to hand it over? A part of any well thought out contract is that all parties involved have a clear understanding of what is expected and the consequences of not living up to those standards.
    I believe that many younger families have begun to question the true value of higher education. Allowing those doubts to spread and become more severe will have long-lasting, negative impacts on the institutions. It is vital that the trust and reputation of academia be preserved for the good of those it serves.

  5. The idea of forcing students to be tracked violates basic human rights, so it scares me that Oakland University wanted this to happen. In theory, tracking the students is a solid way to prevent students from going to crowded places. If the students know they are being watched then they will be motivated to stay home or around people they know are not infected with the corona virus. However, forcing university students to do this is a violation of their privacy. While people should not be leaving their house for anything unnecessary, it is that person’s right to do what they want if no laws are enforcing it . I also noticed that the article talks about how students are tracked through an app, and what it does not take into account is how safe the student is being. Maybe the app detects that a bunch of students are together at a house off of campus, and they all get in trouble for getting detected. I would imagine that the students will be questioned and not just given punishment, but what if the students were social distancing and wearing masks, then nobody was at high risk of contracting the virus and were punished for having a get together. That and the invasion of privacy are two reasons I believe university students should not be monitored in this fashion. The second half of the article talks about why it makes sense for this to be more serious for student athletes, and while I agree the universities should be more serious with student athletes, I believe not even they should be monitored this way. I believe this for the same reasons as regular students, because even though the athletes bring the school money, they still are still average students and if the law allows get together, then schools should too. One thing that I believe could be used to monitor student athletes, is a wrist temperature sensor that the National Football League uses for their players. What this wrist temperature does is monitor and chart a person’s temperature throughout the day, and if the person’s temperature or pulse changes significantly, then the person and a medical professional will be contacted. This allows the person to possibly catch covid before symptoms start. To conclude, monitoring students’ every location is a bad idea and other alternatives should be explored.

  6. Although I understand the necessity of ensuring the safety of students during a pandemic, the tracking of their location through an app is a counter-productive, totalitarian, and invasive rule to enact in the lives of young adults. It is extremely important that during a pandemic, universities have everyone’s safety in mind. Although the universities that are enforcing the use of the tracking app on their campuses are doing it as an extra precaution, it only serves as an easily-outsmarted monitor system and a temporary solution to a secondary situation. The article speaks about latent functions and how the real issue is not being resolved. A university’s primary function is as a stepping stone between adolescence and adulthood and in that, the university’s roles are to house and socialize students.

    If campuses so desperately want to keep their students safe then perhaps they shouldn’t allow them back on campus. it doesn’t seem as though the controversy of the enactment of the app or the fibbing that is inherent in the system of the app is worth returning to campus. With students lying about where they are—a party or in class, in order to continue their prefered lifestyle, it seems unnecessary to continue on campus and it would likely be easier to just remain remote. While a lot of my classmates are on campus, I have remained at home and continued remote learning. Being at home, I don’t fear exposure as much as my classmates do. I know of people entering buildings in which they don’t live (a direct rebellion of our university’s COVID prevention policy), I know of students of the neighboring university going to parties and spreading diseases. I understand the qualms and the downfalls of remote learning, but college social life is inevitable just by the architecture of their living and the only true way to avoid illness is to remain remote.

  7. As worrisome of the idea constant surveillance would be for students, I look at this ethically and non ethically. I can justify schools doing this because they are looking out for the health and wellbeing of their students and faculty. While I do not agree there could be situations in which having this surveillance could be beneficial. College students and other people slightly over or under that age are more likely to be asymptomatic to Covid-19 and that is the scary part. Kids can walk around not even realizing they possess the disease and run the risk of spreading Covid onto more students or faculty. It is a serious issue and I am not opposed to taking all the precautions necessary.

    From an unethical standpoint I totally get the concern students have of feeling constantly watched every moment of the week. By creating a surveillance program you could say it is taking away the privacy we as United States citizens have. It is literally the Fourth Amendment in the US Constitution that basically states that it protects us from being searched or having items be confiscated without reasonable suspicion. There is no suspicion universities could have to feel the need to track our every location. It is why the article is saying students are uncomfortable. Their every little move becomes on record for someone they don’t even know.

    Despite the issues of tracking student locations, I think and have seen some reasonable alternatives to the problem. For example, I’m all for having an app designated to tracking our symptoms. The article was saying how Oakland University in Michigan has students wear a device that’ll track the symptoms. Students pushed that to go optional, but I don’t see a problem with the university tracking your health when it is for something like the circumstances we are in. Other universities have apps where you will report your symptoms if any are present every day and if you do not fill it out it would deny you from going to certain locations on campus. Another method you could use is to simply test students frequently. Test students every two to three weeks and you will have enough of a grace period to figure out who becomes positive and when. Tracking students locations would help figure out who has been in contact with that individual, but students should know who they’ve been in close contact with. Plus if the tests are mandatory for everyone then you are getting tested anyway. I wouldn’t say it is a downside, but the issue with this would be the costs. Tests are expensive and it may not be financially applicable for every single university. The article went on to mention that the university could run events to social distance, but allow for the minor scale “college experience” and that is a good idea too. Students should not have to worry about being constantly tracked or boxed into their room because of fear. There are safe practices to be made and I have faith in universities figuring this tricky course out. It is a very unorthodox time to summarize it shortly.

  8. In this article it starts off immediately by saying that a college in Michigan forced student to download an app that tracks their location so they can know where they have been. Already I can see red flags and completely disagree with that. Yes, you should be staying safe and staying away from big groups of people while the pandemic is going on, but that does not mean my college or university should be able to have my location. I believe that the university that you are attending should know if you have been attending big parties or anything like that, but I think that a permanent location share is way over the line. Apparently, this tracking is taking place with division one college athletes as well, but I believe this is a different story. For division one athletes most of the time their college tuition is payed for by the college, they are put through training programs, and they bring the school in money. They are needed to perform at a certain level or else they will lose their scholarship. With this all in mind, they are required to be tracked so that the coaches and athletic department of the school knows that they are not getting into trouble. While I still disagree with this, I think this is more plausible because they are required to be at a certain standard while playing for the school. After this the article starts going into fraud and how many colleges fake their grades for athletes who are important to the team. They go into the University of South Carolina gave their student athletes fake classes to take to keep them in the game and not let them worry about grades. I do believe that this is wrong and should not happen either. Yes, the athletes are coming to that certain school to play a sport, but they need to succeed with grades too, especially if they do not end up going anywhere with sports, they will have nowhere to go after college. One line basically sums up what I think will happen if students are forced to track their phone, “because public health rests on trust and cooperation. Knowing that they are being tracked, some students will no doubt let their phone “sleep” peacefully in their bed while they party elsewhere.” Overall, I believe tracking students phone is way over the line for colleges and universities to do. I believe they should not cross that line because I don’t think it will work in the long run either, if students want to party some will still go out and party.

  9. During times like these, where a pandemic is in our midst, people tend to get sick or even have symptoms of covid they do not know about. Of course for safety reasons, college campus’s require students to wear a mask when entering a building or even walking around outside, like at Seton Hall. It is good to know how students are feeling to ensure the safety of the rest of the class, but surveillance is on a whole new level. In my opinion, watching the students health state constantly as well as their whereabouts seems a little excessive. This is a complete invasion of the students privacy and is an unnecessary precaution. Some Universities, such as Seton Hall, use an app where students submit how they are feeling everyday before they go about doing their usual activities. This is a logical method to tracking symptoms. Someone might argue that the students could easily lie and say they are feeling well on the app, when in reality they feel sick. Of course, this is a possibility. However, at the end of the day, the student might actually feel okay and still have symptoms hidden inside them that they can not detect. Scientists researching the virus have proven there are some symptoms that are undetectable by the person. This method of checking up on the student body is still a better way than the students constantly being under a camera.
    When people think about going to college, they think about freedom. College has a lot more freedoms than high school does and that aspect is something students look forward too. Having the college staff watch your every movement is the complete opposite of freedom and will make students think twice about attending college or avoid living on the campus and staying remote. This will have a major affect on the financial status of the college, since students are not paying for room and board as well as dining options. The college needs to use a better method than surveillance if they want to keep a normal and prospering college environment. Taking away that aspect of freedom will remind students about high school years and they will not want to be going somewhere that watches them 24/7. As I stated earlier, this method is an invasion of privacy and the parents, let alone the students, will not want their kids being watched by strangers. You never know who can get a hold of your location and find you and harm you. In conclusion, there are many good options for monitoring students health, but surveillance is not one of them.

  10. Forcing students to download a surveillance app that will be able to monitor their location is bad idea that will not go over well. When thinking about this strictly from a viewpoint concerning covid-19 and trying to limit and prevent further spread during this pandemic the idea is a good one. It would be nice to be able to track everyone to determine if there is a possibility that they have been exposed to the virus in order to protect others, but this is not a practical solution to expect students to comply with. As college students we accept a different level of responsibilities while expecting certain levels of freedom. Tracking students’ locations and preventing gatherings by monitoring who is with one another with this is app is an invasion of privacy and impedes the freedoms of students. I would not download this app and would completely oppose the school tracking my location at all times. I have refused to download the Life360 app in the past when members of my family wanted to get it to be able to have one another’s location at all times. I do not like the idea of being tracked 24/7 and applications like this do not sit well with me. Now I know that people say that just by having a cell phone on you your location can be tracked if needed but I do not like the idea of universities or even my family actively tracking my location whenever they like. If I need to let someone know where I am I will tell them, otherwise they can ask. There is no reason that someone needs to monitor my location and I oppose universities trying to track their students. If need be students will be able to find ways around the applications or wearables and will in turn leave them ineffective anyway. It is fair that the universities care about the health and safety of the students, but this is not the way to go about it. We are in a very difficult and atypical time right now and we must keep adjusting the way that we operate in our daily lives. I believe that practices such as hyflex, masks, and social distancing are the best options for universities to adopt at the moment. I know that this could not be completely effective, and the virus can still spread but that is just the way that it is. There is no true way that we can stop this right now and all precautions are helpful and necessary but tracking students is against their privacy and is something that I could not see students backing.

  11. With the pandemic raging and becoming a world-wide crisis, some universities started to use tracking apps that would detect the student’s movements on and off-campus. At first, I thought that these apps were truly helpful towards the decline of public gatherings. If a student understands that they could get in trouble for going to a public event, there is a better chance that the student does not go. The app shows proof whether or not there was a public gathering and helps monitor the safety precautions for the corona-virus. Although the app shows the positives of removing a get-together, I realized that it does not show the physical health attributes of the students. These apps can only locate where the students enter and leave, but it does not show the safety protocols for COVID-19, such as a temperature checker. Not only does having a locating app lack the real safety precaution tests, but it also goes against every student’s basic human rights. A college is a place where students get a real sense of life; students live on their own, clean their own houses, and make their own food without the help of their parents. The app would reduce the feeling of “growing up” because one might say that someone is still “watching” them. I believe that these apps are not helpful or efficient for students because it goes against the whole purpose of college. On the other hand, I do believe that this is a great idea for student-athletes. Student-athletes sign a legal contract with the school and in that contract, it states that the schools have every right to monitor and protect the health of the student-athletes. Being a student-athlete is a commitment and is very important to the school; many schools rely on their sports as it generates more revenue and possibly other recruits. Also, student-athletes have a bigger role than the average student, simply because their reputation at the school is much higher. Because of this, student-athletes should receive the most and best health tests possible, which is why I would recommend the app for them. In conclusion, regular students should not be watched as they have their own rights, but student-athletes should be monitored due to their importance and agreement with the school.

  12. Tracking students at college is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard of. As a college student I was very intrigued to read this article when I saw the title. This article is written by a university professor which is nice because it gives a good perspective at the issue at hand. Schools such as Oakland, Michigan, and Missouri have made students download an app that tracks Covid-19 symptoms while also tracking their location. This has aggravated students so much at University of Michigan that they signed a petition to get the app to be optional. One of the most interesting aspects of this article was how the professor links this issue to college athletics. He explains that athletes usually are forced to have some sort of tracking system installed on their phones to make sure they are going to their classes. The professor knows firsthand how hard it is to be a full-time student and athlete for a college. Lots of these athletes “bring prestige and financial resources to universities.” That is a big issue with college sports. The athletes generate so much for the schools and the NCAA but do not see any of that money. The author believes that some student athletes “arrive at college with an athletic scholarship but not enough academic preparation.” This is a very true statement and school is even harder due to the fact that they are busy 24/7. This professor had to deal with people from the athletic department coming to check to see if the athletes were attending classes. He does admit that most attended but were “dozing off” in class. I admire how understanding the professor was because he did not snitch on the athletes and he understood the reason why they were so tired. He even tried helping them as much as possible in ways like explaining concussions. The author believes that students will just leave their phones home because of the Covid-19 tracking app. I also think that is very realistic because college students want to be social and will find ways around the tracking system. My takeaway from this article was that colleges just want to track students and are using Covid-19 as an excuse to do it. At my school we do not have a tracking system and so far, have been very successful managing Covid-19 with only 3 confirmed cases. As a student, I would not feel comfortable with the school knowing where I constantly was and determining where I can and cannot go. Overall, this article was very interesting and eye opening.

  13. I feel that this article heavily reflects on the ideals that the Founding Fathers stressed in their writings and beliefs. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” It’s hard to say if one of America’s most influential figures would predict a society that depends so heavily on technology, but his words apply to the 21st century. Zeynep Tufekci explains in the article how colleges are trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by violating the privacy of students, “In an attempt to open during the pandemic, many universities and colleges around the country are forcing students to download location-tracking, sometimes as a condition of enrollment” ( This resonates with me, because in order to be enrolled in my university, you must download an app called CampusClear, which has to be completed each day and tracks symptoms of COVID-19. CampusClear isn’t as intrusive as the app the author describes, which uses Wi-Fi networks to determine the phone user’s location. However, I think forcing students to download an app, because school officials think it’ll have a big impact on cutting down infection rates is a weak argument.
    I believe forcing students to be stuck in dorms, after already being in quarantine for six months, is going to lead to a majority of individuals being bitter. Another great passage from the article explains this, “…opening university dorms but expecting students not to socialize – will foster cynicism, not education” (Tufekci). I know that this is something I miss deeply, especially being part of a smaller school. Meeting with your professors face-to-face, the impromptu conversations in passing and even rushing to your class across campus, are enjoyable facets of the college experience that have now disappeared. In my opinion, most students care about their education and will do anything to ensure that it isn’t disrupted. Therefore, I believe university and college officials having a mandate for students to report any symptoms of COVID-19, means they don’t trust students and believe they aren’t invested in their future. I understand the need to limit outbreaks, but college students are mature enough to do the right thing by themselves and shouldn’t be coerced into using an app on their phone.
    I also found it surprising that the act of tracking students wasn’t solely reserved for school in the age of a pandemic, but also has been used for student-athletes. Although I respectfully disagree with the author’s suggestion that college athletes be compensated for their training, since they receive a considerable amount of money in the form of a scholarship, I believe it’s a violation of their rights to track their every move. Relating to the lockdowns due to COVID-19, some states are viewing this as a violation of citizens’ rights. According to Forbes, this is what occurred in Pennsylvania, “U.S. District Judge William S. Stickman IV, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, ruled that Wolf’s order restricting indoor and outdoor gatherings violated the First Amendment’s Freedom of Assembly Clause, and also struck down orders directing business closures and the state’s stay-at-home order as violating the Fourteenth Amendment” ( I think this is an interesting development, and I wonder if the apps that tracked students will lead to a lawsuit being brought before a judge. Students may see this moment as an opportunity to end policies that invade their privacy.

  14. Surveillance has been and will always be a controversial subject matter. Especially in America, where a right to freedom and nationalism overrules and may skew judgment on the general wellbeing and safety of US citizens. Surveillance has been introduced as a public safety measure, and people have also used surveillance to invade other’s privacy. With the internet and modern technology, surveillance has become a big topic of discussion. There are very advanced ways to keep tabs now, and it a scary thing to some. Some people react to such surveillance as a breach of privacy and some do not really care. To be more specific, I am talking about government or powerful groups of people and their surveillance on others. If we are only talking about the time period of the pandemic, then my views on surveillance would be different than before. Usually I am a person who values privacy but also recognizes that modern technology allows us to know more, but at the cost of privacy. I usually have my location services turned off except for when I need to use the GPS, and I do not provide information about myself online unless I must. I understand sometimes this information can be used for harmless things like targeted ads, but there if just something that makes me want to stay private without giving up the ability to use modern technology. I know some people that try to stay completely off the grid, but they do not get to reap the benefits of modern conveniences. I feel that surveillance is necessary however in today’s world, but there is a fine line where concern for public safety becomes an invasion of privacy. People always bring up the argument that America is a democracy so there should be no surveillance, but I bet there are many cases where modern technology like location tracking or even phone tapping ended up ensuring many people’s safety and if there was not surveillance the result could have been worse. Stores and businesses have probably seen shoplifting decrease dramatically after implementing security cameras. When it comes to national disaster or just big events in general, they usually come with an increase in surveillance. 9/11, Katrina, and now the pandemic has warranted more surveillance by the government and others in the country. I think it is important for schools to monitor activity as to make sure COVID-19 does not spread and that the students are safe. Especially for student athletes because if one person gets it, most people will, and that team will not be able to play for weeks. Tracking students outside of campus however breaches privacy in my opinion. As the article stated, college is to mainly educate its students. However, in person colleges also teach kids to be adults, and being an adult includes responsibility. By making college like high school with all these rules, students will just learn to lie and get around the system better. That is how it works and that cannot be changed, students will always rebel. Creating a trusting environment rather than a “Students Vs. Faculty” environment will ensure more safety overall. It is all about trust. Without trust, no real progress can be made.

  15. Tracking students through apps on their phones is an issue that can be seen as both an ethical issue and non ethical issue. Tracking phones has more literal issues than abstract ethics violations. Although I understand the reasoning of universities to want to track their students, it does not sound like it would not be much help in the end. This technology could help predict who has been exposed to someone who is infected, and try to find those students and request they quarantine. But there is a lot of room for error with these apps. Technology is not very reliable. It glitches, has internal issues of its own, and may provide false information to the school. As mentioned, databases that collect information like this are always at risk of being hacked and leaking information. If some universities are so worried about the spread of Co-vid 19, then they should take different approaches to their school year overall. The University of Missouri is using an app that tracks when students enter and leave classrooms. If having students in classrooms is a concern, then the University of Missouri should have considered having strictly online classes and eliminate the threat overall. I liked the idea the article explains about how universities need to make a plan and stick to it. They cannot bring students to campus, not expecting the spread of the virus, then realize their mistake and send students back home where they will infect more people. Schools also need prevention techniques that are definitely in place and constantly followed. The only definite way to make sure people do not have the virus, is to implement physical checks which include testing, taking temperatures, and giving people on campus a thermometer of their own (which Rider did) so they can keep track of their temperatures.
    The issue of tracking phones is also an ethical issue. We have these ethical issues because we are entering new terrain by being in this pandemic. Almost no one knows what to do or how to approach work, school, and business. No college is doing the same thing or has the same plan. What Montclair is doing (opening) is different from other New Jersey schools like Rutgers or Princeton. I think presidents of universities are trying their best and trying to come up with a decision that would best help everyone, but in the end are falling short. Many people complain that they wish their schools would come up with a better plan, but schools right now get in sticky situations no matter what they do. People get angry if schools open and people get angry if schools stay closed. There is no winning for everyone, no one really knows what the best course of action is, and these ethical issues rise from it. I agree with the article that this will only make students get creative and find ways around the tracking system, and in the end will not be as effective as the university expects.

  16. In the article written on The Atlantic about surveilling students, it has brought to my attention, a fellow college student, what universities are doing. Universities which has started with a small liberal-arts college in Michigan, are starting to mandate that all students put a tracking app on their phone due to the pandemic. Since universities are worried about their students catching the virus, they believe this will be a preventative measure. Unfortunately, it is the opposite. As stated in the article, students will be enticed to leave their phone in their dorm room instead of bringing it out with them since they do not want to be tracked. As a fellow college student, I would do the same thing for the sole reason that I do not want anyone knowing where I am always. Universities believe this is a safety measure, but it is the opposite. Nowadays, children grow up with technology and master it by the time they are teenagers and as they grow older obtain a career in the technology field. This is great, but many of these people know how to hack programs, since almost anything is hackable. As an adult woman, I would not want this tracking technology on my phone because if it is hacked, I am putting my life at risk. I could be followed, traced, and tracked down from anywhere. There are to many people with bad intentions in the world to allow myself to be vulnerable an accident. This is just one negative out of many of a tracking device on students’ cell phones. The article also informs me that college Wi-Fi routers track whose cell phone goes in and out of what room at what time. This is not a safety issue, but an invasion of privacy. Students would be willing to sign in and out of a building rather than be tracked without knowledge that they are being surveilled and all times. Unfortunately, universities have control over students when it comes to mandating them to download a COVID-19 tracking software. They could revoke their scholarship or their acceptance into the school. In this case, students would choose their education over being tracked, but is this really an option student should need to consider? Their scholarship should not be in danger over a tracking device on their phone due to COVID-19. The scariest part about this situation is that as a student, I have no idea if Seton Hall is tracking my every move. I would like to be aware of this, but it might not be mandatory that they need to tell us when they are tracking us through wi-fi. With tracking apps that follow students because for COVID-19, universities are putting student’s life at risk through hacking and giving students no other option than to lie about where they are by leaving their phone in their dorm. There should be an open, safer option students can choose from rather than being mandated to download a tracking app on their phone.

  17. It goes without saying that most people do not like losing their privacy. To have someone keeping tabs on your every move is both very scary and creepy. When I first read the article, I was angered in the fact that universities were going to the extent of forcing their students to download apps that would track their exact location. It is understandable that colleges want to make sure that their students are taking extra precautions to prevent any of their students from getting the Covid-19 disease. But it is out of line for them to think that they should track where they go.

    In the article, the author, Zeynep Tufekci, states that this type of tracking system has been used before with college athletes. It is a way for college coaches to track what their players are doing and if they are attending parties. Coaches have also forced their players to add them to their social media followers so they can catch players posting photos of themselves at parties and etc. But players have been able to get around this by simply not taking their phones everywhere, leaving the impression to their coaches that they are simply home “sleeping” or “studying” as they go out to events and parties. The same concept can be implied to college students proving that the tracking app would be useless and pointless because it would not show accurate data regarding the prevention of the Covid-19 disease.

    Towards the end of the article, the author states that with this tracking app, colleges would be encouraging their students to lie and deceive. This is a valid and strong point proving the tracking app is not going to have any benefits to either party. Colleges should promote their trust in their students and let the responsibility rest in their hands. Alternatives that colleges can take to preventing a spread of the Covid-19 disease could be requiring all students on campus to take a weekly Covid-19 test, as well as temperature checks for every person that enters any building throughout campus. These steps would be greatly affective in fighting the spread of the disease and would also prevent the students from losing their privacy to a useless tracking app.

  18. The Pandemic poses many challenges in today’s society. The illnesses that people experience can either be almost nonexistent to so severe that one ends up on a respirator, which often leads to death. It has been found that different age groups are affected differently by the disease. Because of this, everyone should be doing their part to prevent the spread to others regardless of their personal feelings about the disease.

    It is difficult to believe that a college or university would mandate that students wear a tracking device to alert the college as to when they are on campus. It is unclear as to how knowing a student is on campus will stop the spread of Covid-19. Perhaps it would assist with contact tracing, but there are other methods to contact trace. If a Professor has a roster of students that should be in a class and a student tests positive, the college would know which students to contact. If they were not in class that day, then they would not need to quarantine. This practice seems to be more about tracking students rather than preventing the spread of a disease.

    Further in the article, it states that this has been common practice amongst athletes. While this also seems like a violation of privacy, it does not make it right for all students that attend the college. It would be interesting to have a detailed explanation from the college to know how this device will be used and what the exact purpose is. The article only states general use. It would also be interesting to know if this practice will end when the Pandemic ends.

  19. Although I understand that we must continue on in our lives, I personally believe that opening universities at this moment would be acting prematurely. The United States is having difficulty controlling the population at a mass scale, universities consist of the same citizens that cannot even be controlled within their own country. University administration need to understand that no matter what controls they require of their students the students are adults who are going to make mistakes. College for many kids is more than just the education. By allowing them back on campus, they should understand that welcoming them back to school, they are also welcoming them back to the freedom many of them only receive at school. Many young adults make decisions based on how it affects them alone. Requiring them to download apps that tracks more than just their immune system is taking advantage of that trust that students hold with their universities. Students can choose to trust that they will be completely confidential, but, nothing can be guaranteed with new technology. When this student downloads the app and inputs their information in order to stay in line with their university’s policies, the university may not truly know where our information will end up. According to the article, locations, wifi connections and more are tracked through this app. As a student, we do retain certain rights when it comes to our education. This being said, we do lose some rights when entering our schools, however, our right to privacy does remain intact. We have the right to know what our information is being used for whether it our financial information or our healthcare information. I believe that in order to make our return as safe and secure as possible the university should be more patient with the life of the pandemic and wait instead of putting people at risk. Today’s society is already quite public, but this information that these apps are collecting could put college students at an even greater risk of endangerment.

  20. The idea that some universities are tracking their students in this way is scary. In today’s world, technology has began to dominate our lives. While great benefits have come from this, great issues arise as well, many of which apply to this situation, with the tracking and surveillance of students.

    Tufekci brought up a unique point comparing student athletes who have been tracked now, to students who are currently being tracked in the pandemic. Students are still seeking the social atmosphere of college, and who can really blame them, especially after over 4 months of quarantine? Like mentioned, the more “hidden” or “latent” function of college is to socialize and network with people. With that said, there are ways to still be social and interact with fellow students that are still safe and reduce the chances of spreading COVID-19. Consistent tracking of their location though, will not be successful. Like Tufekci said, students will simply leave their phones behind, and continue to go out and party.

    The spread of COVID-19 is inevitable, especially on a college campus. College and university campuses are like a petri dish for different viruses and infections. From a lack of sleep, to communal living arrangements, and the simple fact that different people from different areas will bring along new bacteria, students, especially incoming freshman, are highly likely to get sick. One 2 week study of 90 students at a small liberal arts college found that 27% of the students had been suffering from some sort of acute illness, with symptoms such as runny nose, coughing, and fatigue (O’Connel). So when it comes to COVID, a disease that is not only spread easily, but few people have antibodies to prevent infection, it makes it even easier for it to spread.

    With that, colleges and universities should have taken proper steps and measures to be able to keep the students and employees as safe as possible, while still fostering as much social interaction and activity as possible, to make campus seem as “normal” as possible. By keeping students cooped up in dorm rooms, with little to no social activity, AND monitoring their location will simply lead to students sneaking out. By not having them under constant surveillance and promoting more social activity through the school in a safe manner, it prevents the potential side of unhealthy and unsafe social interactions. Of course, there are students who are going to do what they want, when they want regardless, there’s no way to really stop them.

    Constant surveillance of students is also very unethical. Big data is a major topic of conversation in business today, and the one growing concern continues to be the safety of customers, or in this case, the safety of students. The application used to track students may have security precautions in place, but that does not totally prevent it from being hacked. Say the app were to be hacked and all of the students’ locations were leaked, think about how long it would take a sexual predator to find a student- or potentially worse, take them too? Adding more ways for young guys and girls to be tracked is clearly unsafe, and should not be justified to “help prevent” the spread of a disease that, in truth, would probably still be spread around campus anyway regardless of students being tracked or not? The safety of the students and their privacy should come first, and although keeping them safe from COVID is important, adding more risk to their lives in instances like kidnappings or pedophilia is not worth it, as they pose more risk to the student than the disease itself.

    O’Connell, Virginia Adams. “The Healthy College Student.” SAGE Open, vol. 4, no. 3, 2014, p. 215824401454718., doi:10.1177/2158244014547181.

  21. Even though the app could be very beneficial in keeping the number of positive tests down on campus, I believe like many people said that this app is a violation of human rights. No one should ever be tracked about the whereabouts even if they weren’t in a pandemic. After reading this article it really made me think about how things were at the start of the pandemic. While I do think this pandemic is a real thing and everyone should be taking precautions, you can’t force people to not have social interactions. Personally, I am a very introverted person and I don’t mind being by myself. However, many of my friends who are more on the extroverted side were complaining about not seeing anyone and I could see how much it was affecting them. I also saw this in myself, when after almost two months of not leaving my house, I was starting to get antsy and depressed about not seeing anyone. I think putting trackers on students phones is just crazy and it should never even be an idea. If a university is that scared of students contracting the virus, then they shouldn’t even have the students back on campus. Also, as both the article and other people have stated, implementing a tracker will only make students get creative and it won’t be as effective as the university expects it to be. It will only make students not want to be at school by taking away their personal rights.

  22. The safety and concern of everyone’s health at colleges and universities are many campuses’ main priorities at the moment, however, tracking students’ everyday lives can lead to a lot of concern. With the current pandemic, the thought of opening up colleges and universities nationwide does come with many concerns and challenges. The thought of having the school track where students go on campus does bring up the concern of the invasion of one’s privacy. Many students go to college to become independent and not be closely monitored by their parents or guardians. Now with the thought of having our colleges and universities monitor us at all times throughout the day through tracking close Wi-Fi networks or sensors to track who is there does seem unreasonable. While these devices may be useful to track and inform any students who may have come in contact with the virus, it still does raise concern, as people’s privacy is put at risk.

    In a time like now, many schools have developed various different apps and programs to help with stopping the spread of the virus. For example, many schools are using the application, Campus Clear to have students put down if they are experiencing any symptoms before reporting to campus or their classes. This app is a good way to track any symptoms in which students may develop over a period of time. Within the article, it mentioned a form of wearable technology in which Oakland University has developed that would track students’ symptoms. While not every student is on board for wearing these devices or being tracked, there is no way to satisfy everyone’s wants and needs from the administration to the facility to the students. While the thought behind developing these apps to track students is to keep students safe during the current pandemic, it is causing many students to feel as if their personal business and privacy is being invaded.

  23. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a time in our current society that can be described by a plethora of words, one of the best being: strange. For months the ideas of isolation, social distancing, and stay at home orders and suggestions have been spoon fed to us by local and national health experts. These ideal circumstances to live in during the pandemic would make one believe that, on the surface, a sense of privacy and recluse. However, the article highlights how that concept is seemingly flipped on its head for students of some colleges and universities.

    There is no denying that universities have acted selfishly in the past. Tufecki uses the example of monitored student athletes to exhibit this point well. One can say that the way universities monitor and track student athlete’s every move is nothing short of playing puppet master. In my opinion this is done not because the university wants to see that individual students thrive in their athletic career, but rather that they view them as an asset, and they do not want their walking moneybags to do anything that might endanger their value. This has led universities to practically spy on student athletes however possible, which already pushed ethical boundaries. They were able to get away with this, for they know that the student would not file a formal complaint, seeing as how most of them could only attend those big schools off of scholarship funds.

    Now with this pandemic looming over their heads, and balance sheets, universities most likely felt a surge of panic as they realized how it could threaten in-person classes. Many universities scrambled to create a way to maintain in-person classes, mostly to save another money-maker: campus housing. I agree with the author of the article that this was an awful decision. College students naturally desire human interaction; they crave socialization. It was misguided for universities to believe that they could house students within the same building, but expect them not to interact and fraternize. Their brilliant solution to this seems to be a further breach in ethics than their surveillance of student athletes. Tracking the every move of every student on campus not only creates a highly questionable situation in a legal perspective, but an absolute mess overall. This is due to the pure volume of data that would need to be analyzed, and funded to do so, and the possibility of faults in said data. As the author points out, a system that tracks your movements based on an app would be easy to exploit, simply by shutting the phone off, or just leaving it in a dorm. This would easily create an atmosphere filled to the brim with mistrust and resentment. I believe that telling students that there will be harsh punishments if they socialize will only lead them to become rebellious and do so anyway, pushing the boundaries further than they originally would have.

    As the article states, having students reside on campus was a bad call from the start. It will only lead to transmission of the virus, which will cause the campus to shut down anyway. Suddenly, students will be sent home, possibly without a refund seeing as how some universities are overcharging students to begin with. These outbreaks on campus leading to everyone being dispersed will only cause more outbreaks, which in turn will prolong the life of this pandemic, forcing life as we know it to be strange even longer. It is ironic considering that housing students was an attempt to reach a normal life sooner. I believe that the choice to open up campuses was selfish, uneducated, and reckless, but was done so because of the unfortunate reality that many educational institutions focus on operating for profit rather than creating new generations of successful adults, but that is a conversation for another day.

  24. Personally, the idea of around the clock surveillance doesn’t sound like a great concept because of the numerous negative and questionable events it could lead to. First and foremost the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating on all of our ways of life however, this fear has lead to many rash decisions being made in an effort to return to normal life as soon as humanly possible. Many people aren’t comfortable with the idea that the life they knew pre-pandemic isn’t going to happen exactly the same way which is why people are willing to approve such drastic measures. If you take for example the parents of a freshmen student who will be leaving home for the first time and staying on campus. With all of that school’s student body coming from all across the area there’s no telling where they might have been. So if these parents are told there is a technology that has every student log their location 24/7 then those parents may feel comfortable knowing that the school is taking some preventative action. And from a contact tracing standpoint, this is a fair idea to implement. But from a personal standpoint around the clock monitoring just isn’t right. People shouldn’t be forced into feeling like their are constant eyes watching over them and these fears were neglected in an effort to just try and get back to a sense of normality. Sending students back to campus was never a smart idea. it was one that was made to not only make money but to get people out of their homes and back into feeling normal. This was a mistake from the start and as the semester continues we will continue to see more and more cases arise because people aren’t comfortable with having their way of life changed by someone other than themselves. I barely feel comfortable knowing that Apple monitors my location and I am thankful that I can stay home and not have to worry about what life on campus would be like. But the idea of forcing people to allow them to watch you doesn’t sit well with me and is why I feel it is a horrible idea to allow.

    In regards to the student-athletes, I have long been in opposition to the extremely corrupt organizations such as the NCAA for milking billions of dollars off student-athletes. They’ve long used the excuse of they are “giving these athletes a world-class education for free” but from anyone that knows professional sports to any degree, we know these students are taking an accelerated route to the professional game. And the schools know this too which makes matters worse. These schools know that if they can make their classes as easy as possible for these athletes they will be more than inclined to take that school’s opportunity so they have a better chance of getting to the professional game faster. The article mentioned that “Many of these athletes are minority students, specifically Black men, who were underserved during their whole K–12 education and faced the same challenge then as they do now” and this is clear to see in the professional game as well. Schools know they hold all the power over athletes who have come from all walks of life and if you tell any 18-year-old kid that if they follow what you say in a few years they could be making millions playing a sport they will listen. Schools know that they hold all the cards and use this to enforce any kind of rule or regulation on these athletes that they see fit. So the idea that student-athletes could be forced to share their every location at every second to the school probably wouldn’t seem farfetched to them. They are already at the mercy of the school for athletics and they know whatever the school imposes they will be following it because they have no choice but to.

    Overall the pandemic has caused changes. Serious ones. Life-changing ones. But people have to accept this because there is no way around it. The life that we knew prior to mid-March isn’t going to happen for a very long time if ever. People also have to wary of corrupt people using this to their advantage. Whos to say these universities don’t gather this location data and sell it to advertisers to target these students. Being told to wear a mask shouldn’t be cause for a political discourse. It’s the right thing to do and is not that difficult. However, being told that you have to share your location 24/7 with the blanket statement “so we can keep you safe” doesn’t do anything but give people the idea that if they comply they will get their old life back.

  25. This article by Zeynep Tufekci published in The Atlantic is one that resonates with me. I agree with just about everything she says in the article. Reading this article is the first time that I am hearing about all these instances of surveillance amongst universities in Michigan and Missouri. If I had heard of anything like that going on in universities near me, it would definitely draw some red flags. I personally find tracking students throughout campus to be highly unnecessary and unethical. I feel like if there was a genuine concern for the health and safety of the school community, then universities shouldn’t allow students to reside in dormitories on campus. Logically speaking, if the university has a diverse student body composed of people from across the country, then that university should prohibit dorming for the semester. I understand that universities need to make money, but that is taking priority over the health and safety of the students. Reading the section about the lives student athletes have regarding tracking disgusted me. To think that someone would have their every move tracked is something that never should have been allowed in the first place. I think Tufekci did a fantastic job illustrating her personal experience as a professor having to essentially sell out her student athletes to the administration. This anecdotal evidence definitely shed some light on the previous attempts of universities to track their student bodies. I am a big fan of the way Tufekci mentions that students will break the rules. This is something that some don’t take into account. Specifically, she notes, “For example, after a Northeastern University student posted a survey on Instagram asking incoming students if they would party, the school responded by sending letters to the parents of the 115 students who were honest enough to answer yes, threatening to rescind their admission offer.” This only incentivizes the students to lie and further endanger the lives of those around them. If you think students aren’t going to party given the opportunity, you’re dead wrong. Obviously some will cooperate, but there will be many who don’t. This is why spying on students wouldn’t be effective anyway. Tracking via cell phone would only incentivize students to keep their phone at home and go to parties without a phone. This could cause problems because a person’s phone can be the device that saves them from being sexually assaulted or making bad decisions or even being kidnapped. This would cause many problems for the university. Aside from being illogical and ineffective, spying on the student body is highly unethical. As a university, the role of the professors and administration is to provide an environment of growth and learning. Spying on students would bring tension between the administration and the student body when there should be a sense of companionship. The university shouldn’t be there to spy and track our every location, if there is a pandemic or not.

  26. From a health standpoint, I can see why tracking students could be beneficial for universities regarding COVID-19. Morally speaking, it is a complete invasion of privacy and quite honestly pretty ridiculous in my opinion. My own parents do not even track me, so why should I allow my university to? By no means should students be out partying or not following state guidelines regarding COVID-19, but tracking is a little excessive. Tracking likely would do little to benefit universities anyways. If a student knew they were being tracked by their school they could simply leave their phones home leaving their university blind to their whereabouts just as easily as they can lie when questioned for contact tracing. Not only is tracking an invasion of privacy but would also likely create a lot of fear and paranoia in students. Requiring this type of surveillance would likely be detrimental to institutions. If surveillance were to be mandatory it would likely deter students from attending that specific college, I know it would for me. In comparison to the restrictions and surveillance placed on student-athletes, it backfired. This would be the same case if it were done for the current public health crisis. It would result in serious backfire and negative implications for universities. Student-athletes are more likely to cooperate as they have more at stake, like scholarships and the possibility of a professional career in athletics. Non-student athletes have less at stake and do not have any binding ties to a specific university. As mentioned, our universities should be teaching us our responsibilities as citizens and critical thinking, not how to lie and scheme because we are under surveillance. The current way things are being handled is creating an environment where students are feeling all the more pressure to lie. When asked by a university if they have been partying or around large groups of people, they want you to give them the honest answer to eliminate any possible health threats, but at the same time threaten suspension or even expulsion to students if you are honest and say yes. Mandatory surveillance is an invasion of privacy and simply unethical. Mandating tracking or surveillance will be detrimental for both universities and students.

  27. Reading this article makes me want to move more accordingly about myself and always be more aware. Stalking and tracking student is no reason for universities to do. That is not what you want and I believe there should be consequences for that. There should be no reason for a student to be stalked or tracked, especially by a school. Students go to school to learn and feel safe and wanting to chase a great future, they shouldn’t have to worry about someone behind their back. Tracking students by phone is also a negative. this is because why do you need to know what he or she is doing and where he or she is at. Yes some student disobey school laws but that doesn’t mean you stalk them or do illegal and things students would feel uncomfortable with. for example, if there’s a party going on, maybe you send school safety or admission offices directors to that location and shut it down, or start giving out fines, and students won’t do that. there are many ways to take care of this instead of following students behind their backs. Understanding there is a pandemic, but that you don’t have to go to that extent, maybe put caution signs or have people in all dorms to see if there’s any loud music or people entering one specific area. also having limited capacity in dorms is a good way to prevent parties and put social distancing in effect. I feel like if you try to stalk students or try to track them, they will try to do something worse or bigger as in party to “get back” so it wouldn’t be for a good cause. But like I said before there are many ways to prevent parties, the right way and not get into student privacy. if someone of school faculty gets caught trying to do so, it may be a huge problem for the school and the person who did it. People/students need their cell phones at all times just in case something is happening and they need to call for help or 911. If you don’t have your cellphone and something happens you may feel bad after the situation or you may have been the solution to a problem but you couldn’t help. The university cares for our safety but they shouldn’t want us to to feel uncomfortable. If someone gets caught doing this students can boycott the college and that would make less students want to go their and it would be a loss for the university. the university would lose a lot of money, so I don’t think they would take that risk. So, there are many ways they can put rules in affect for students safety and health, then doing it illegally.

  28. Although there is a necessity to ensure the safety of students during these unprecedent times, the extreme surveillance through apps is not ethical and invades the students’ privacy. It is important for universities to ensure everyone’s safety and students should act responsibly and follow the precautionary measures as wearing masks, washing hands, keep social distance, avoid crowds.
    On one hand universities harp on students to act responsibly and on the other they continue to elevate the surveillance methods so that students’ attendance and tardiness are scored into a point system that some professors use for grading or like the usage of Bluetooth beacons roughly the size of a deck of cards to signal to a student’s smartphone once a student steps within range, and apps that can record a full timeline of the students’ presence so advisers can see whether they left early or stepped out for a break.
    Technological innovation has outpaced our privacy protections. As a result, our data can be tracked in ways that were once unthinkable. The increasingly intimate supervision can mold how people act and we must not take our eyes off the two major issues how far surveillance has gone and our privacy breach.
    Universities should have had only on-line classes and remained closed to in-person residential experience. After all, some universities are already preparing themselves for the possible transition of moving all of their campus-based operations to an online modality. So why not implement this solution from the start of this Fall semester?
    I have high concerns about the spread of the virus and the ventilation systems in the buildings. I am glad I was able to take my learning on-line this semester and work from home as I remain safe and productive.

  29. I believe that the surveillance of students, especially at all times, is not only unnecessary, but also unacceptable. Not only have universities started tracking students, but they are starting to require it. This is a major invasion of privacy, and just because there is a pandemic going on, that does not mean we throw away other morals and basic rights. My first question is, why is this necessary? Why would these universities need to know where the students are at all times? These trackers are even tracking students before they get onto campus. The university does not need to know where students are when they are not on campus. Now these schools might want to use this to see if students are in big groups on campus or if they are social distancing or not, but there are much better alternatives to this besides tracking the students. The universities could hire security throughout campus that would watch for students that are not social distancing. The problem with that would be that it would cost universities more money, and universities always have money come first no matter what, and they would rather try something that could be unethical, than spend more money than they need to. Another big part about college is the freedom that it offers that many students have not had before. Going from high school where there are hundreds of rules regulating everything you do, to college which still has rules, but the students have much more freedom on where they can go and many more things. Privacy is an aspect of college that high school did not offer as much of, and if colleges start tracking students’ locations, students would be outraged. Also, if universities wanted to offer something like this, they need to make it optional, and if student does not mind being tracked, they can be, although I doubt many of them do. The more rules that are instilled, the sneakier the students will get, and the students will find a way around this system if it is enforced. Regardless of what the schools do, the students will either protest it, or find a way around the system. Now, I do understand what the universities are trying to accomplish here. We are living through a pandemic, something we have never experienced before, and these schools are trying to offer the best possible college experience while still being safe. Unfortunately, I do not think this is the correct way to do so. Although there is a pandemic, like I stated, that does not mean you do not use morals.

  30. The way that these colleges are forcing their students to download tracking apps is all too similar to those apps that our parents made us download while we were in high school. For some reason, our parents thought these apps could be an alternative to parenting and thought it would solve their problems. In the same way we got around those apps, these students will certainly get around these apps. Although school officials may think it will make the school safer, the only way this disease will go away is if everyone trusts each other and takes responsibility for their actions. Everyone always says that the strictest parents raise the sneakiest and worst behaving children. These schools need to show their students that they trust them instead of encouraging them to lie.
    As Tufekci also says, this system of tracking is similar to the ones that colleges used on the student athletes. Unless school officials are that blind to think that those student athletes actually stayed inside all the time and never went out to socialize, there should be no reason to think that non student athletes, with even more free time than those athletes, will allow themselves to be confined. The topic of student athletes and the mistreatment they face is a whole different conversation, but in no way should tracking be the new norm for all students.
    Apart from the easy ways to get around these apps, these apps also pose a serious safety threat. In this age, hacking seems to be the norm. Hundreds of millions, if not billions of accounts have been hacked from even the biggest companies. To think that a tracking app could not easily be hacked and used to threaten people is silly. Especially with these apps that have 24/7 tracking data on them, they are extremely unsafe to use, especially in such a confined space.
    I understand the reasons behind implementing these apps and any other devices to keep surveillance on students, but there are much better ways than violating human rights and actually putting students in danger. For example, my cousin, who attends Northeastern University told me that they are administering frequent testing of all students and staff about every three days. Obviously, any student or staff who is infected will be identified immediately and put in quarantine. This method is much more efficient than any tracking app could be since there are so many ways to get around those apps. However, the only true way to ensure safety is that everyone does their part and makes sure they are staying safe and maybe just for one semester skip the basement parties.

  31. Colleges aren’t the only schools asking for their students and especially student athletes to wear a COVID tracker. I personally know a high school jr that is away at a boarding school with a scholarship for basketball that has to wear a COVID tracker. This tracker doesn’t have a location device in it but it’s supposed to be able to track if you come in contact with someone that test positive to COVID. Yes, they are living at school but they have to have a negative test in order to get on campus and are essentially in a “bubble”. You take all your classes online but are allowed to practice with your teammates. They all live on the same floor of the dorms and only truly interact with each other. I’m sure the college level is more strict due to the fact that college sports bring in so much money for the college.

  32. Surveilling college students is not only unethical and immoral, but it is also an extremely foolish response to the occurring pandemic. People generally do not like the idea of being watched and judged for every action. Constant surveillance fuels paranoia, distrust, and resentment toward the party that enacts said surveillance. I find it difficult to imagine that college would remain to be an experience that students look forward to if they know that themselves or their parents will be paying large quantities of money to be watched, judged, and pressured to do certain things or act a certain way. One of the key characteristics about college that many students look forward to is being able to be more independent and being able to make decisions for themselves. If students are policed as though they are still idiotic adolescent children, then it will very much not be a desirable experience for those who are ready to attend.

    Colleges are claiming to be implementing location tracking technology to ensure that students will remain safe while on campus. However, these institutions are not implementing this technology for the health and safety of the student body. Or rather, the concern for the health of students is not what lies at the heart of the issue. It can be reasonably assumed that colleges are attempting to require students to download these apps and software to prolong the students’ ability to remain on campus, providing the college with more revenues from food and board. The true reasoning for surveilling students is largely due to want of increasing revenues rather than making sure that people are healthy and safe. However, even if the intention of surveillance was to keep people healthy and safe, it would not make implementing this sort of policy any more justified. If colleges are truly concerned about the general health and well-being of their student body, then they would not be extending their authority to intrude on the private lives of their students while at the same time sucking the funding to do so out of their wallets. What ought to be encouraged is to continue social distancing. If people want to gather, they should do so only with people that they trust and in no greater than small groups of five or less. Though colleges will not make more money if they do not bring students back on campus, it is better that than more people getting sick and dying due to negligence of assisting in taking care of peoples’ health.

  33. Tracking students 24/7 through an app does not even sound like a good idea. Mass surveillance was used after 9/11 and did not end up the way they planned. This led the government dropping the surveillance they and finding new alternatives to the problem which would benefit the future. If we are fast forwarding to todays world, people are wanting the pandemic to go away but still want to go on with there daily lives. With this app, Aura, that universities and colleges are using it is on the brink of invasion of privacy. This app tracks your every move to see where you were and what you were doing there. It is Bluetooth activated so you could have it on and it will not notify you. The issue that leads me to believe that this is invasion of privacy is the fact that you have to have it on 24/7. This function they said is to serve the school on making sure they can find the infected easier but with that comes a give from the public. Not only can you not come back if you do not have it, but you will be jeopardized if you turn it off.
    In the article it went in depth about student athletes and the standards they would have to meet including using the app in academic settings. I agree that athletes should have a special system to make sure that they can perform with ease, but this surveillance is not the answer. While the article talks about how student athletes perform in the classroom and already get around work, I do not believe that this would prevent student athletes from doing anything different. The mandatory COVID-19 apps in my experience have been more of a pain then an asset. The asset of taking a survey every morning does not benefit anyone because it is easy to lie on it with no one looking to make sure it is correct. These apps that universities are using believe it is an asset when really the money is going down the drain. I think that this is one-way schools are trying to gain control of there students and have a reliance on the system. It is going to take some time for society to go back to how it was, but until then the answer is not to have 24/7 surveillance.

  34. Tracking college student’s locations is in no means justifiable or ethically correct. The way college students want to live their lives is independently, not having a system report their every move to school officials. Utilizing a tracking system like the one described in this article would result in major backlash and a void of cooperation with students figuring out ways around this technology. Many would simply leave their phones in their dorms and go out and socialize with friends the way they should be able to while on their campus. However, if those students began to show symptoms they would be reluctant to report it out of fear of punishment for their actions. As the article points out, this would lead to an overall worsening of public health and result in many universities being shut down.

    What colleges need is an honor system, based on trust for reporting symptoms and abiding by COVID-19 regulations. Colleges need to work with their students, not abruptly deprive them of the main aspects of attending college. The prominent latent functions of attending college are independence and socialization. Many students need to go through these 4+ years of education to not only learn how to succeed in their targeted career academically, but also socially and responsibly. Overall, a tracking system like this would in turn teach students how to be better liars rather than the education they went to college for in the first place. What colleges need to do is provide safe spaces for students on their campus. Whether that be outdoor, socially distanced seating, designated dining areas, or an influx of safe activities on campus. Universities cannot refuse to provide these services for their students and respect them all to take it upon themselves to be 100% safe. This all requires a mutual effort from universities and their students to respect the magnitude of COVID-19 and act accordingly so communities stay safe and can begin to recover from the damages resulting from this pandemic.

  35. This article relates to something my mom shared with me a few days ago regarding athletes being tracked by their coaches. The article talks about student athletes being required to friend their coaches on Facebook for location tracking purposes, or students being required to wear a physical tracker to track symptoms for COVID. The Facebook post my mom read to me was from a college mom whose daughter plays for a sports team and her coach required the team to send videos of them exercising for proof that they were actually doing the workouts. That is a huge invasion of privacy, not to mention, disturbing. I would never want to send my coach a video of me working out for who knows how long the requirement is. I am honestly surprised it has come to this point where coaches and universities need to keep tabs on students this much. I mean we are all in college clearly capable of telling the truth and if we lie we are only hurting ourselves.

    When relating this tracking technique to TSA agents and police officers it can be detrimental to people of color or people who have different ethnicities. For example, let’s say there is a crime in a predominantly white neighborhood, and someone says they saw the suspect was African American. In today’s society, unfortunately, more likely than not the police are going to question any random African American they see on the street. With this broad surveillance, the risks can be far greater than the reward.

  36. I personally haven’t heard of such surveillance on students until I read this article. I wouldn’t feel comfortable having a school tracking device on my phone, let alone my face. Does that break any privacy laws? It sounds too outrageous to not be illegal. It’s understandable that the coronavirus has made the world take certain precautions, but it’s unnecessary to surveil people, especially students. I am aware and susceptible to the mandatory covid tests before enrolling into college to make sure no one with the virus may enter, but the wearable tracking device is an invasion of privacy despite its purpose to track symptoms. I believe the location tracking app on phones is also an invasion of privacy and should not be mandatory for enrollment. I would suggest a 24 hour stand with someone checking students coming in and out at all the school entrances and exits to monitor movement. It would achieve the same goal for the school and less privacy invasion towards students.
    I am aware of the priorities for schools when it comes to their athletes, especially prestige schools depending on them for financial resources. Schools should be setting an example for athletes to encourage them to take their education seriously. It’s disappointing to know that there are some schools out there that don’t require them to have a certain GPA in order to continue sports or a not high enough grade standard. The University of North Carolina is a perfect example of how schools don’t actually care about their students. I can’t believe the professor created fake classes to give their athletes little to no work for a good grade to bring up their GPA. These actions will end up letting students walk without a proper education, thus making their future much harder.

  37. Mass tracking of student locations and forced wearables to track symptoms seems like a good idea, but I personally think that it’s too invasive. I am coming to college during COVID-19 to escape the quarantined environment that I was in for months. I know that coming to school was risky but I was willing to take the risks to enjoy my college experience. Something that is tracking my location and giving me parameters. Students want to be able to utilize their schools to full potential, and the tracking mechanisms will make people not want to do anything because of all of the things they have to worry about. This could inevitably end in people transferring because of how tired and anxious they are about all of these different new technologies on top of not being able to use a majority of their facilities because we’ve transitioned to online learning for the most part. Students are going to realize that all of their money is being invested into a school that they can’t even use and they will choose to go to fully online schooling. Again, in my personal opinion I wouldn’t be able to deal with tracking softwares and wearables for such a long time and I think a majority of college students would agree. Why don’t we just test more instead? Here at Seton Hall University we have had no testing measures except an app that we just have to click no symptoms to log how we feel and it isn’t even a daily requirement. I say instead of all of these invasive measures, we invest more in tests for the virus. My friends at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island are getting tested weekly, every single student. Here at SHU, we don’t know if we have 3 cases or a rampant outbreak on campus, as the university said “if the students don’t have symptoms it’s okay, they’ll be fine.” I think our school has been relatively careless about the outbreak and I don’t like it. All that is needed is more testing so we can quarantine the students when they need to be quarantined. This will lead to a safer and more comfortable school environment in the future.

  38. Tufekci’s article was quite eye-opening to me because I was unaware of universities actually trying to monitor where students’ location. I would have never thought that locating students at universities would aide in preventing COVID-19 because it almost seems too bizarre. Not only would that not work, but that would completely defeat the purpose of holding in person education. Many students really look forward going back to campus for the social aspect of hanging out with people their own age at public gatherings and getting away from the grip of their parents. No student wants to leave home and go to college to be monitored all over again. Students want the freedom to be able to operate on their own schedule and do what they want. They should not be monitored during COVID-19. I think it is more of a selfish idea for the schools to operate in person because they are doing it for the tuition and other financially driven ideals. If this were not the case, and they really wanted students to be monitored, they never would have come back in the first place. Making students use an app to determine where they are is not going to do anything because it is too easy to work around. Tufekci brought up some of the methods students were using to bypass the idea in his article. LabRoots explains that when people are told not to do something, they are inclined to do it more because they want the control over their own life. This behavior is psychological and is known as reactance. Our brain wants to ensure that we are free to do whatever we want with our own lives. This is exactly what would happen with the majority of students at colleges or universities. Tufekci did bring up an interesting topic about student athletes being monitored. This is one of the only principles I accept for student monitoring in schools where athletes are receiving scholarship money. Colleges want their student athletes performing at their most peak performance athletically and academically and therefore, the athletes should be monitored to make sure that they are recovering from their harsh training regime. On top of this, colleges invest lots of money into their athletic programs and their return on their investment is the revenue their athletes generate, which requires them to be at peak performance. All in all, Tufekci’s article really threw me off. The idea that schools would try to force students to be monitored as opposed to making college all online just baffles me because monitoring students would never work. It defeats the purpose of going to college and it is against our psyche.

  39. The surveillance tactics mentioned in the article remind me of 1984, and starting them on college campuses is a quick way to get the country there. By convincing college students, it is acceptable to track them, they will become more inclined to accept government surveillance on a similar or greater scale. Those college students grow up, but the training doesn’t go away as generation after generation gets manipulated into submission. The author brings up the latent functions of public schools, and subtle training of acceptance is certainly a university’s latent function. There is an argument that the amount of data mined about us by private organizations has already brought us to 1984, and Universities are simply a more public extension of that. However, I don’t think it is too late to beat the corporations’ battle for privacy. I don’t want them to gain servants amongst college students. We should have become alerted to this when student-athletes were subject to the surveillance and stood with them against it. Because we failed to realize the slippery slope of removing individuals’ privacy, we didn’t, and now it has become a much bigger deal with more significant consequences.
    I feared a similar outcome when Seton Hall rolled out its campus clear app. The app asks for daily check-in symptoms and tells students not to go into class if they have any. At first, I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t be tracking my location, and I was relieved to see it doesn’t, but instantly saw the potential for it to do so. The app itself is very nonintrusive with one daily notification, and it doesn’t seem to have any real-life consequences no matter what answers one puts as a peer of mine tested.
    The author concludes that schools should stay home until the adults get their stuff together, and I disagree with that. We need to assume a certain transmission rate and yes, a certain death rate amongst those transmissions, to live our lives. I am weary of organizations hiding the freedom to live a normal life behind steep costs to privacy when it is not needed. It is a manipulative power grab that puts people willing to sacrifice anything to get back to living their life. I wish this article hadn’t concluded with a point about schools staying home. It seems unnecessary to the overall plot of draconian surveillance methods, and there merely so the author can get in his opinion. Although I do see how he is saying instead of resuming life without restrictions, we shouldn’t resume life at all.

  40. I don’t think that it is ethically right for colleges to require their students to install a tracking app on their phone because of the pandemic. This is an invasion of the students’ privacy and it completely crosses the line. Colleges do not have the right to track their students’ locations. If I went to a school that was requiring me to download a tracking app, I wouldn’t do it. I rather face the consequences of not downloading the app, then have my privacy invaded. These colleges are justifying their decision to require a tracking app because they believe it will prevent the spread of Covid by being able to locate where infected students have been. Zeynep Tufekci, believes that these tracking apps are going to backfire on colleges because they are going to lose the trust and cooperation from the students. I fully agree with Tufekci because the students are going to find ways around the tracking app. Students will be more inclined to leave their phones in their door room when they go out and they won’t want to tell the school where or when they contracted Covid. Just because there is an increase in surveillance of the students, does not mean that there will be an increase in safety. There are other ways that these colleges can use to help prevent the spread of Covid. For instance, my college is using an app called CampusClear. I have to go on the app every day and log if I have any symptoms of Covid. If I don’t have any symptoms, then I’m allowed on campus. If I do have any symptoms, then I’m not allowed on campus and I need to get tested. The app doesn’t track my location or invade my privacy. I think this is a good way to help prevent the spread of Covid because my school didn’t lose my trust or cooperation; therefore, I log in my symptoms honestly.
    For some reason, it seems that colleges are forgetting that socialization is a huge part of being a young adult. A big part of going to college is meeting new people and having new experiences. There are many colleges that promote these types of aspects about their schools. So, it can be pretty confusing for students when this is completely taken away from them. Many colleges are not having in-person classes, leaving students without that aspect of socialization. It is human nature for people to want to gather together to socialize. Colleges can’t put a bunch of students in dorms and expect them not to socialize. Instead of colleges completely shutting down the aspect of socialization, they need to offer ways for students to be able to socialize while following social distancing guidelines. I am grateful that I don’t live on my college campus this year because I think it would be very hard and confusing for me. I feel bad for the students who are stuck in their dorm room all day. I don’t think that colleges are looking at the situation from a student’s perspective and that is why there are so many issues.
    Teresa Richardson

  41. In my opinion, I don’t think that it’s right for students to have an app on their phone and show every movement and where they are at all times. Having the university know every step their students take takes away the privacy of all students. The transition from high school to college is supposed to be the time for the student to experience more freedom and independence since they are now one their own without their parents being with them 24/7. The increased surveillance most likely won’t be a popular opinion among college students because they do not want to be tracked the whole day and it can be scary for some when they have that thought that their school is paying attention to them everywhere on campus. Remote classes have been a very common theme this fall semester and I believe that oakland university should just keep classes online instead of having all of their students download the mobile tracking app since it would make it a lot easier for the school and the students. I understand that in this pandemic, gatherings should not happen but there are other alternative ways to approach this matter, it can just start off with a testing site for the students and faculty to make sure that they didn’t catch the coronavirus. Even though the school requires the students to download that app, there will always be a group of people who just won’t download it since it isn’t right so there can be many flaws to this tracking system depending on the size of the school. Another question comes to mind is how the school is going to keep track of every student since that would be several hundred students everyday that they would have to monitor, logically it does not make any sense to go on with this idea. All of this wouldn’t have happened if the school just stayed online for the semester but I understand that the school needs to make money but I would think of something different than just track everyone. If this university continues with this idea of tracking students, this can deter potential students away from transferring/applying to their school since this isn’t the correct approach to the semester.

  42. While I understand the need for universities to keep their students safe, but surveilling their students seems to be going a step too far. Never mind the ethical (or even legal) issues that come with surveilling students, I feel as though the logic behind the decision to do so is not very apparent. Universities are treating college students, who are adults in every sense of the word, as children. I think this shows a massive lack of trust in your students judgement, which is a bad look in itself outside of the ethical issues that come with the decision. College students, for the most part, understand the severity of this pandemic and the danger that would come with spreading it. Universities should be trusting all of their students to be wearing masks when they go out in public, and to stay home if or when they are feeling sick. Along with the trust aspect that comes along with surveilling students, many college students move into dorms to gain some freedom from their families and their parents. If students are stripped of that freedom, many of them may feel as though they are not getting the experience they were promised when they decided to go to this university. This is why I like the plan that was implemented at Seton Hall, showing trust in their students by asking us to report any symptoms we have before going out for the day. Along with this, every student was tested prior to moving on to campus, and every student has to wear a mask when they are leaving their dorm rooms. I think our university shows that there are plenty of measures that a university can implement to keep their faculty and students safe in this pandemic. This article talks about the way that over surveillance could backfire, sighting 9/11 as an example. I think that this is a good example because it shows an entire population being isolated and outlawed as a result of a tragedy that they did not even commit, which can occur with over surveillance of this pandemic.

  43. Many apps being used for students involved in on-campus activities are on the verge of crossing the surveillance line. I understand the idea of being aware of a students location to actively track COVID and who would be at risk had someone tested positive. I also don’t believe anybody actively has the right to be aware of our every movement as we are still free to do as we want. I dont like the idea of people being aware of what Im doing even if the info is private. Even for apps such as twitter, Instagram, and Facebook that request I feel safer only allowing my location when I have the app open because my every movement doesn’t need to be known. Although it is for a good cause and to help the safety of the students an app along these lines cannot be mandatory to use. The mandatory use of apps along these lines for student-athletes can be more understandable but is still wrong. As student-athletes have more put on their plate and represent the university on a larger scale than the average student you want them to make you look best. Is it morally okay though to track every movement of 18-23-year-olds? No, and I hope schools see the issue with some of these apps and the safety concerns it could also bring if the wrong people hack into the app. Protecting students in a time like this is key but you can only lead them to the pond and not teach them to drink. They must eventually learn to protect themselves and place everyone’s best interests in mind. Similar privacy issues arise with some required camera use as some students may not feel comfortable showing their home environment online. Can they be punished for that? I dont believe so but most professors and teachers also need to be aware of the chance you are cheating and need to know you are actively paying attention. COVID forced us to move quicker into this type of situation then we would all like and although current requirements may not be the best we need to actively search for ways to respect everybody privacy and still succeed in a time like this.

  44. COVID-19 is a new issue to everybody but I am not sure that this is the best way to help cope with this issue. In this article it talks about how some colleges across the country are making students download apps to track their location. This can obviously cause a lot of problems. First of all it is a total invasion of privacy to be able to track students 24/7. Why would students want to download an app that lets someone know their location 24/7? That could also be very dangerous in certain situations if someone with bad intentions was in control of that information. I know as a student myself I would not be comfortable downloading an app that forced me to share my location with the university. Also as the article pointed out, this would just make for sneaky kids. College kids are going to be college kids or try to be even if we are in a pandemic. Kids would leave their phone in their room or give it to a friend to seem like they were behaving when they could be doing something else. This reminds me of the saying “strict parents make sneaky kids.” I believe that same thought process applies here. You can also bring up a question of morals. Is it moral to track kids locations all the time? The answer is probably not. The school has no right, as far as I know, to do that. Even for student athletes who are held to a higher standard, it still is not right. I have been a student athlete at two schools now and I have never been forced to download a location tracking app. I am glad I haven’t been but if I was I can tell you with certainty that there would be times where that would stay in my room and I go and do something else. College kids need to be able to experience college without having to worry about getting in trouble while trying to have fun. It is important to keep students safe during these unprecedented times but I am not sure this is the best way. I don’t know what a good alternative would be but tracking students is only going to lead to problems. Students are going to be sneaky and that could make contact tracing a lot harder if someone did get sick. Schools could try and use an app that makes students report any symptoms they have to try and keep track of students well being. That is a lot less invasive than tracking students and you can still monitor their health. Obviously, kids could lie about symptoms but you would have the same problems with the tracking app. Either way schools have to find a better solution than tracking students because that is not the best way to ensure safety in a time like this.

  45. I believe this approach is wrong. I understand that college campuses would like to keep track and find a specific point where the virus was contracted and who else could have gotten it however, mass surveillance is an invasion of privacy. By requiring students to download location tracking apps is truly scary because we don’t know who is watching. This idea poses a great number of “what ifs” and questions. For example, lets say someone hacks into the tracking system, finds out where their person of interest is located at the moment and stalks them? What if, the locations get leaked to other companies and they have just gained more data to research? Where is the data going to? Who is the data going to? Does the app work in dorm facilities? These are all questions that need to have concrete answers to before they can force students to download the app or even have it required before getting admitted into the school. Not only is this an invasion of privacy but it takes away from the college experience. Imagine yourself back at college and telling others ” my parents don’t track me as much as my university does.” College is place to further your education while placing you in an environment to handle yourself. A different sense of freedom in imbedded into the true college experience and to have ones school track students 24/7 is absolutely ridiculous. Universities can find different ways to beat the virus such as regular testing, better safety and health equipment, organized events, organized class structure, constant communication with the students etc. Universities can find ways to keep their students safe even before considering tracking devices.

  46. The issue of surveillance has been moved right to the top due to the current Covid-19 pandemic. To decrease the spread of the virus many people have proposed the tracking of Individuals’ phones. This way they would be able to tell who was in contact with who. This would always be accomplished by tracking the phone’s location. They then could reference which phones were within a certain distance of each other to find out who could have been in contact with the disease. Once they found out who was in contact with the disease, they would require these individuals to quarantine for 14 days.

    I find this to be a very current civil rights issue in the United States. the tracking of individuals in the United States has been brought up before and has even been done by some companies. Previously it was to benefit companies financially so that they could gather more information on a person’s day to day life. They would be able to use this information for their own personal benefit or sell it to other companies. there is always been much resistance to this idea but in the face of a worldwide pandemic, many people are changing their opinions. They feel that if this type of technology can save even one life that it is necessary and should be implemented. However, I have a different stance on this, I don’t believe anyone or entity should have the right to track another. This article states an incident in Michigan where a liberal arts college required students to download an app that could track them in the name of stopping the spread of Covid-19. The students were given the option to either download app or they would not be able to be on campus for the semester.

    I don’t believe colleges should have this type of authority over there students. whether it is to track Covid-19 or to gather information these types of technologies are direct violations of our constitutional rights. The argument can be made that students would have to sign waivers in order to allow the app to track them therefore, they know and accept the risks. Although the only alternative for students is to not take classes in person. In their minds, it’s either give up their right to privacy or their education that they are paying for. Students don’t even have the ability to transfer to other colleges where they wouldn’t have to give up their right to privacy. This is because colleges make it so difficult to transfer credits to one another that half of all the credits that students paid for would most likely not transfer over. Therefore the students’ choices are limited to continue their education, or stand up to their right to privacy and pay significantly more amounts of money to regain the credits that they’ll lose transferring. in conclusion, I believe that the schools especially should not have the ability to enforce these types of mandates onto college students.

  47. During a pandemic it is hard to get back on a normal schedule. Going back to in person class at high schools and colleges and also going back to work in the office is a difficult task for companies and schools. We hear more about what our countries colleges and what their plans are to get students back on campus. As Professor Shannon stated in her post, schools in Michigan are using an app called Aura that tracks the student’s locations on campus and even off for contact tracing purposes. The University of Missouri is also using an app like this where an app tracks when students exit and enter classrooms, so they know where everyone is on campus when they get there. This idea is spreading, and it shows positives and negatives. The positives are that the information gained from tracking helps slow the spread of the virus on campus’. The negatives are to some people that do not like that they are getting tracked by their university and it’s an invasion of their privacy.

    In my opinion, this idea is smart, but I do not like the fact that they schools have the access to your personal location. Here at Rider University they use an app that is called CampusClear. This is an app that makes students fill out if they have any symptoms or have knowledge of someone that has the virus. This is another way school are trying to keep students and faculty safe. After having used this app, I believe that this is a much better way to keep track of students and their symptoms along with seeing who they have come in contact with than physically tracking them all the time when the time is not needed.

    Another idea was getting kids back on the sports field. Student athletes are getting free education and athletic experience to try to excel to the next level. This affecting their lives and schools do not know what to do. These kids are trying to make it to the next level which is becoming a professional athlete and that is not possible if they are competing. Schools are trying to get small groups back out on the field so they athletes can train if they are not competing. This is a nice initiative to keep athletes in top shape just in case they cannot compete their senior years.

  48. Hearing about the app Aura and certain schools attempts to monitor their students is not surprising. In these unprecedented times people will turn to unprecedented methods of handling tricky situations like hosting a school year during a global pandemic.
    I understand the intent behind these colleges choosing to go down this path. Every institution’s main goal is to produce a safe, secure, and sound semester for their students and faculty. However, invasion of privacy defies constitutional law, and surveying students whereabouts if they’re enrolled at your facilities is invading privacy. Every proposal for helping life get back to normal and moving past the coronavirus should be taken into consideration, but that does not mean all should be implemented. The demonstration of such a procedure shows that the thought process of these schools administrators was money first, rights later.
    Every college has taken some form of a financial impact from this pandemic, that doesn’t make it okay to take suspicious and concerning routes to reopen school in efforts to save money. Everyone is affected by this situation, everybody is losing money.
    It is not surprising at all to see these invasive efforts be utilized across the country. This is because most colleges and universities prioritize profits over protection and safety of students both in person and online. A culture change is needed in the higher ups of collegiate administration. Colleges need to understand the gravity of the current situation and stay patient. They shouldn’t be resorting to unconstitutional means of reopening their schools. If this is how semesters are going to be for certain students, it may be better to just remain online like majority of the universities are doing for the Fall.

  49. Once schools announced how they would be proceeding with courses after the unprecedented event of Covid-19, I often wondered what would schools put into place to ensure social distancing. Before reading this article, I had no clue that schools were actually contemplating and requiring tracking devices among students at universities. In this article, Zeynep Tufekci outlined how tracking has been used predominantly among athlete students, and as a result, many institutions believe that tracking apps will be a good way to monitor students whereabouts during the pandemic. Essentially, the tracking app has been used to place tabs on student-athletes to ensure they are devoting an ample amount of time to training. The tracking apps have put so much of a strain on student-athletes that students are beginning to fall behind on work because they are “under a regime that requires them to train like professional athletes despite their lack of salary” (Tufekci). In other words, many institutions that should be promoting education first, have been pushing an extraneous training regime among student athletes, many of which are black. Tufekci suggests that the harsh emphasis on tracking apps during this day and age of social distancing, only encourages students to lie about their whereabouts by leaving their phones at home, instead of bringing it to a party per se.

    I completely agree with many of the points raised in this article. “Our job as educators is not to create a surveillance environment that teaches students how to better lie, but to foster critical thinking and civic responsibility” (Tufekci). I couldn’t agree more with that statement because if educators have to go as far as surveilling students whereabouts, shouldn’t that mean that maybe schools should reconsider not opening up their doors in the first place? Most students go away to school for a sense of freedom and not to be watched and surveilled. Getting an education should not feel like prison in the sense that a student can not leave off campus without being questioned. I definitely understand the necessity of establishing policies, rules, and putting regulations in place, in order to slow the spread of Covid, but I do not think that invading someone’s privacy is the way. An assistant professor at Indiana University, Kyle M. L. Jones believes that “these administrators have made a justification for surveilling a student population because it serves their interests, in terms of the scholarships that come out of their budget, the reputation of their programs, the statistics for the school.” Jones believes that ultimately, schools are not implementing these apps for the student’s well-being, but more so to make exemplary students, in order to make the school look good by enforcing a specific type of behavior from students. In my opinion, requiring tracking devices is extreme and if due to unforeseen circumstances, institutions can not adequately refrain from infringing on one’s individual privacy, it is best that institutions just stay closed.

    Works Cited
    Harwell, Drew. “Colleges Are Turning Students’ Phones into Surveillance Machines, Tracking the Locations of Hundreds of Thousands.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 26 Dec. 2019,

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