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OSU list of housing assignments leaked to Facebook

Cody Cousino / Photo editor

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Three days before housing assignments were set to go out to incoming freshman, Ohio State’s system was tapped and a link with the wrong housing information was leaked on Facebook.

The housing assignments used to be done by hand in a process that took about six weeks, but in an attempt to go green, OSU’s university residences and dining services made the assignments electronically in an allotted time of two weeks.

“We wanted to perform a test run to make sure the information was accurate,” said Toni Greenslade-Smith, director of housing administration at the university. “We picked a handful of names and loaded the jump data in the test system. During the testing phase, someone logged into the portal and got the jump data.”

The test trial assignment link then got posted on the Ohio State University Class of 2015 Facebook page on Monday, Aug. 1 by incoming freshman Adam Hodges, where everything was taken to be factual.

“I received a Facebook message that had the link to the housing site,” Hodges said. “I knew we would be getting the information sometime soon, so to me the link looked legitimate and had everything I requested.”

The university officials found the Facebook post when a mother of an incoming freshman called asking questions about her daughter’s placement.

“As soon as we found out where the link got posted, we took it down immediately,” Greenslade-Smith said.

The housing administration sent out an email to the students that afternoon stating the housing assignments were inaccurate and nothing was official until they received the actual email from the university.

Greenslade-Smith said that despite the false link being posted, some people knew the link was not accurate.

“There were voices of reason out there knowing that it couldn’t be true because it would be odd that housing would be posted Facebook,” Greenslade-Smith said.

About 400 students were affected by the mishap, Greenslade-Smith said. An estimated 6900 new freshman are enrolled for the Columbus campus this year, up from 6549 new freshman last year, said Gail Capel Stephenoff, director of analysis and reporting.

For the future, the university has learned to time the tests differently by doing them earlier, with the portal down instead of up, and by testing old data from previous years instead of using the current year’s students, Greenslade-Smith said.

“Every year presents its own challenge, we are making every effort to go green, so there are no plans to not do things electronically,” Greenslade-Smith said.

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