SLU addresses some of its own questions about the Echo Dots on the university website, like, did the funding for the Echo Dots come from tuition? The answer is apparently no—the Echoes have come to the university thanks in part to a partnership with Amazon and university capital funding.

Another question: “I am concerned about my privacy with Alexa. What information does the Echo Dot in my residence hall room keep about me.” Answer: SLU is using Amazon Alexa for Business platform so the Echoes are going to be attached to a central SLU system and not individual accounts. SLU claims Alexa does not keep recordings of asked questions. The SLU system apparently does not keep personal information on users, and “all use currently is anonymous.”

Amazon did not immediately respond to a Gizmodo request for comment on SLU’s use of the devices and privacy concerns that may come with having a voice-controlled device in student living spaces.


SLU vice president and chief information officer David Hakanson believes the infestation will improve student efficiency. “Every minute we can save our students from having to search for the information they need online is another minute that they can spend focused on what matters most: their education,” Hakanson said in a statement.

If a student does not want an Echo Dot in their dorm —and their roommate feels the same—the university site advises them to “unplug the device and store it in a safe location.” If they lose the Echo Dot, then they may face a charge.