Dawson College moves to cover up security failure by expelling student whistleblower

OTTAWA, Jan. 21, 2013 /CNW/ - Dawson College appears to be more interested in protecting its image than protecting its students' personal data, in light of its recent decision to expel student whistleblower Ahmed Al-Khabaz. Earlier this school year, Al-Khabaz exposed critical security flaws in the personal records system used by Dawson College, located in the Montreal neighbourhood of Westmount, and by other CEGEPs in Québec.

"This is yet another example of students' information being compromised because of irresponsible management," said Adam Awad, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Rather than acting to correct the flaw exposed by Al-Khabaz, the administration chose to punish the whistleblower in hopes that the problem would quietly go away."

Despite Al-Khabaz's attempts to work with the College administration to improve the security of the information system, operated by Skytech, he was served with an expulsion and a grade of zero in all of his courses. Al-Khabaz's efforts highlight the fragility of the systems students are expected and encouraged to trust and ease with which access to such information could be gained.

"The administration should reinstate Al-Khabaz immediately and issue a public apology for its actions," said Awad. "The risk that students face by having their information stolen is much greater than any risk posed to the reputation of the College."

The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest student organisation, uniting more that one-half million students in all ten provinces. The Canadian Federation of Students and its predecessor organisations have represented students in Canada since 1927. 

SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Students

For further information:

Adam Awad, National Chairperson at 613-232-7394 or a.awad@cfs-fcee.ca