Confidentiality in brief

School asks student journalists to sign confidentialityagreementOKLAHOMA — In what a school officialhas called a ”breakdown of communication,” student journalists weretold July 20 that they would not receive their paychecks if they refused to signa confidentiality agreement that prohibited the disclosure of certain universityinformation.Copies of the agreement were sent to the office of The DailyO’Collegian, the student newspaper at Oklahoma State University. Amongother things, the document required that the students agree ”not to accessor view any information other than what is required to perform [their] specifiedresponsibilities” and ”not to make inquiries about any individualfor any person or party who does not have proper authorization to access suchinformation.” ”The way this agreement is worded, it’sso vague that the things they are specifically trying to protect are materialsthat student journalists wouldn’t go after, such as social securitynumbers, or it’s information that’s already protected under thestate open meetings and open records acts, like employment records, budgets,things of that nature,” said Editor in Chief Lenzy Krehbiel, who told thestaff not to sign the document. ”The way it’s worded, it makes italmost impossible for one of our reporters to do his or herjob.”University Director of Communications Gary Shutt said thestudents were inadvertently given a copy of an old confidentiality agreementwritten earlier this year after a school laptop computer that contained somesensitive student information was stolen.Shutt said a committee isdrafting a new version of the agreement because some faculty voiced concernsthat the original was too ”punitive.” He said the committee has notyet decided if student journalists will be asked to sign it.State shield law includes student journalists,representative saysCONNECTICUT — Connecticutbecame the 32nd state to enact a reporters’ shield law in June, and thelaw’s author says it would include student journalists.The bill,which will allow reporters to protect the identities of their confidentialsources, was signed into law June 6. Rep. James Spallone, D-Essex, the author ofthe ”Act Concerning Freedom of the Press,” said that although itdoes not mention student journalists specifically, the language of the law isbroad enough to include them.”I would say that students arecovered because a student would be an