How to prepare for uninvited Zoom guests

Posted on May 21, 2020

Greetings Colleagues,

As a campus community, we have learned many lessons over the past few months. Our swift transition into the world of virtual instruction and remote work has revealed our resilience and adaptability. In addition, we have become creative in considering new learning environments from a student-centered perspective. I am proud of the way Fresno State has come together to ensure the safety of our students and continue toward the pursuit of their academic progress, despite the circumstances at hand. May we never lose sight of seeking their best interest!

As we head towards the summer and fall semesters, I ask that you remain vigilant and knowledgeable about how to respond effectively in virtual Zoom classrooms and meeting rooms. Many of us have experienced firsthand the disturbing effects an uninvited guest can cause during an event that is meant to bring people together to learn and work. With this in mind, I have provided some resources to help ensure the safety and privacy of our students, faculty and staff while using Zoom.

Have a plan! The best course of action is to prepare in advance with a well-thought out and pre-tested plan. Please take a moment to review the Zoom Best Practices for Faculty and Staff quick list in preparation for a proactive response. 

Widely publicized events or meetings may be a necessity at times and these types of events are especially vulnerable to disruptions by people who may or may not be invited. Here are a few tips for using Zoom to host widely publicized events or meetings:

  • Consider having at least one co-host. You can support one another and coordinate how you will respond. While one person is speaking, the other can monitor the screen and the chat spaces.
  • Plan for the possibility of intrusion. Talk with your co-hosts about the potential for unwanted incidents. At the start of your meeting, briefly inform your guests that you have a plan in place should a disruptive situation arise. This should be stated in a positive, considerate manner to provide a sense of assurance for your guests.
  • Practice your responses. Literally, speak out loud the statements you might make to your audience and talk through the steps you will take to address an intrusion. Explicit, verbal preparation for the situation is more likely to empower you to be nimble in your responsiveness.
  • QUICK TIP: How to remove a participant from a Zoom meeting or webinar. If you have already begun a session and find an unwanted attendee has joined, please follow these steps:
    • If the “Participants” panel is not visible, click “Manage Participants” at the bottom.
    • Next to the person you want to remove, click “More.”
    • From the list that appears, click “Remove.”
  • Familiarize yourself with the Zoom security features. Zoom has recently added a new Security Icon Option to assist hosts in managing their meetings.
  • Attend a basic Zoom Training course. Technology Services offers Zoom training courses facilitated by our experienced staff. You may register by visiting the Organizational Excellence website.

What about the potential emotional after-effects of Zoom-bombing? The emotional after-effects of Zoom-bombing may linger far longer than one might expect. We must be able to respond to the incident and care for the people who have been impacted. Please reach out to our Employee Assistance Program or Survivor Advocate Resources for guidance in responding to the psychological, emotional and behavioral effects associated with a traumatic meeting intrusion. 

How can I report a Zoom-bombing or other type of incident?

  • Illegal activity should be reported to the Fresno State Police Department immediately by calling 559.278.8400.
  • Disruptions or uninvited guests should be reported to Technology Services by calling the Service Desk at 559.278.5000.

Want More Information?

Zoom Best Practices

Zoom Help Center

Getting Started with a Webinar

How to Keep Uninvited Guests Out of Your Zoom Event

Center for Faculty Excellence - Zoom Help

Thank you for helping ensure the physical safety, emotional well being and privacy of our students, faculty and staff.

Sincerely,

Orlando Leon, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer