The president of Northwest Iowa Community College, Bill Giddings, is responding to word of an FBI probe into possible piracy activities on college computers. Giddings confirms that federal law enforcement officers were on campus last week to investigate activity on the college’s computer system. He says the investigation was launched after the college’s I-T department was contacted by the school’s internet provider about an "unusually high use of bandwidth" on one of the college’s circuits.

The I-T department called for police involvement when they discovered the problem may be related to the downloading of copyrighted or licensed materials. "Local authorities referred us to the FBI as the activity that we were concerned about could involve federal law infractions," Giddings said at a news conference Monday. A computer programming instructor at the college, Steven Gifford, told local media he was placed on administrative leave and was — in his words — "interrogated by the FBI."

Giddings was asked about that claim and confirmed that one unidentified employee is currently on paid administrative leave. However, he says the matter involves an "internal issue unrelated to the computer investigation." Giddings says the employee was placed on leave prior to any external agencies being called to the campus. Northwest Iowa Community College is located in Sheldon.