Campus Police caution over 'suspicious' clipboards seeking personal information

Western University authorities are investigating after “suspicious” clipboards asking for student names, telephone numbers and faculties were left in several classrooms across campus.

A Campus Police official says the clipboards were found at other Ontario universities

Photo captured by the Western Gazette shows the clipboards on campus. (Katrina McCallum/Western Gazette)

With the first month of classes underway, Western University's Campus Police are reminding students to be extra careful with giving away personal information to external groups or recruiters.

University authorities are investigating after "suspicious" clipboards, asking for student names, telephone numbers and faculties, were left in several classrooms across campus.

JC Aubin, who's with Campus Police, said the investigation began two weeks ago when authorities received the first of two reports.

"The clipboards don't have any identifying information regarding who's organizing it," he said, noting that an accompanying form indicates it's for 2019 summer employment.

A photo of the clipboard suggests students can earn anywhere between $15,000 and $20,000.

Police have seized two clipboards so far. Some of them were found in social science buildings, said Aubin.

Clipboards found at other universities

Aubin said that any form of unofficial external recruiting is prohibited on campus.

"We have seen this before but with company names on the boards," he said, adding those companies were sent cease and desist notices.

Because the clipboards don't identify a company, Aubin said, one of the concerns revolves around identity theft.

He said Campus Police have been contacted by other universities including University of Toronto, University of Waterloo and Ryerson University about similar clipboards found at those campuses.

Since the investigation began and word got out, Aubin said police haven't received any more reports about the clipboards, which is a "good sign."

"Right now, we don't suspect that this is a criminal activity," he said. However, police continue to investigate the matter.

"If any student observes any clipboard requesting personal information whatsoever, even if it's minimal, unless they know exactly who is receiving the information and they know that this is a legitimate company or for a legitimate purpose, not to provide any information," he said.

Aubin said there's no threat to student or public safety.