By Ann Rubin
St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - Documents with the personal information of dozens of former St. Louis University students were littered near a dumpster in a back alley. How did they get there and why weren't they shredded? The university is searching for answers.
NewsChannel 5 received a tip Monday from someone who saw the paperwork discarded late last week and was concerned that it was still lying on the ground.
On each document was the name, address and Social Security number of a former St. Louis University Student. Most look like old library fines for late or lost books, many dating back to the mid-1990s.
It appears they were somehow discarded in this dumpster behind a SLU facilities management building on Washington. The person who found the documents says he called the university on Friday but no one came. Since then, the wind has blown them down the alley.
Using the information on the cards, NewsChannel 5 tracked down one of those former students, who asked not to be identified.
"It's terrible, it's really sloppy. There's no excuse for that," he said.
While a NewsChannel 5 crew was present, SLU security drove down the alley. Our news crew showed the officer the documents and helped him pick them up. That officer called a supervisor, who then called additional officers to look for more we might have missed.
St. Louis University released this official statement Monday evening: "At Saint Louis University, we take our responsibility of protecting the privacy of our students, faculty and staff very seriously. We have procedures in place for the proper disposal of records, including the use of a professional shredding service. Every effort will be made to determine how this unusual matter occurred."
Students hope campus security gets to the bottom of it and makes sure it can't happen again.
"It's not a good feeling to hear that information like that is just being thrown around," said student Brandon Kniest.
Recent graduate Erin Harmeyer added, "I think there should be policies and they should follow those to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen and our information isn't just free for anyone to do what they want with it."
The documents are now in the hands of the campus public safety officers, who said they will be properly disposed of.