Parents’ attempts to reset university passwords against Tarleton policy

By Drew Isom –

The Help Desk receives five to 10 calls a day from parents wanting to know their son or daughter’s university passwords.

A student technician at the Help Desk, John Purget, said, “Parents want to reset their kids’ password because they can’t get in it.”

Parents are seeking access to sites like DuckTrax and myGateway. When school begins, the desk receives about 50 calls a day mainly from parents of freshmen.

Purget said, “Some parents are very nice about it, but most are very angry.”

When calls come in for password changes, the Help Desk employees can only tell parents that it’s against policy.

Caryne Hampton, a worker at the Help Desk, said that “you have to assure them that it will get done.” Caryne has dealt with a lot of these calls from parents, and said “you can hear their voice get tense.” The password can’t be changed unless the student calls to verify the change. The excuse of paying for their kids’ tuition gets thrown out a lot along with other angry words. John said that “part of it is just laziness.” Students are not taking responsibility themselves to call.

Tarleton’s rule for password authentication states, “The confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information can be lost when access is gained by a non-authorized entity,” – parents are included as that non-authorized entity.

Tarleton follows the Texas Administrative Code, which sets policies for all state agencies. The code states that Tarleton can’t easily give away “data items that could potentially embarrass or create problems for the parties involved.”

Purget said giving a parent the student’s password is the “biggest no-no.”

A help desk and support services are integral parts to lots of businesses and institutions, including educational ones, as it opens up a communication channel that can prove invaluable to both parties. This is why many businesses and institutions invest in digital solutions such as help desk software.

Resources: Texas Administrative Code for Information Security Standards

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