Changes to Portfolium lead to controversy among students

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As of early January, the University of Connecticut sent out an email to all faculty, staff and students, informing them that they now had the opportunity to create an account on Portfolium due to the university licensing the network.  Portfolium website Screenshot.

As of early January, the University of Connecticut sent out an email to all faculty, staff and students, informing them that they now had the opportunity to create an account on Portfolium due to the university licensing the network. Portfolium website Screenshot.

Honors students at the University of Connecticut have become concerned for the security of their private information after Portfolium stated it collects contact and demographic information which can be transferred to third parties, according to its privacy policy.   

The network was first introduced to honors students as a way of allowing them to showcase and correlate their academic work to real world requirements. As of early January, however, the university sent out an email to all faculty, staff and students, informing them that they now had the opportunity to create an account due to the university licensing the network.

University spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said that the university only uses student’s information as needed. 

“As part of the process, the university provided data about students to Portfolium that may be used for its internal purposes, specifically verifying the students’ identity and setting up their user profile,” Reitz said. “As well as by the external organizations who may view the student’s portfolio as they seek to recruit new employees.” 

Reitz said that students can also optout of sharing their portfolio and personal information with potential employers and others who are on the platform.  

“UConn offices such as Procurement, Compliance/Privacy and Information Technology work closely with sponsoring organizations to help ensure data is being used appropriately,” Reitz said.  “The Portfolium contract is no different and includes a clause that specifically limits the use of the data provided to only those activities necessary to provide the service.” 

The university communication policy statement asserts that university email accounts are university property, giving UConn the right to access such accounts and that they may do so for legitimate business purposes, as is the case with Portfolium.  

“Since university email addresses are the official communication mechanism for the university, and since Portfolium was a service purchased by the university and as a benefit for students, it was an appropriate method of communicating its availability,” Reitz said in regards to the policy.  

Reitz emphasized that students’ privacy and protection of critical information is the university’s number one priority. 

 “The university takes privacy very seriously, and a variety of its offices support the privacy and security of its data, both within the university and with cloud-based vendors such as Portfolium,” Reitz said.  

More information as it relates to opting out of sharing portfolios with potential employers can be found at the Canvas website. To learn more about the institution’s policy, students can go to policy.uconn.edu. 


Sebastian Garay-Ortega is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached at sebastian.garay-ortega@uconn.edu. He tweets @sebastian__305.

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