Sensitive personal information of 305 students, including names and university identification numbers, was accidentally sent to 26 seniors in the School of Foreign Service Monday.
The SFS dean’s office released the information of the students, who were all seniors in the SFS, via an email attachment sent to 26 recipients. Dean Mitch Kaneda informed the students whose information was disclosed by email Tuesday afternoon. According to Rachel Pugh, director of media relations, those 26 students who received the data were asked to destroy it. All 26 have confirmed doing so with the dean’s office as of Thursday.
“We take the security of student information very seriously, and we deeply regret this error,” Dean of the SFS Carol Lancaster said. “We are reviewing the incident and are taking steps to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. This shouldn’t have happened, and we apologize for it.”
Personal data, including students’ names, Net IDs and academic information, such as GPA and major, were inadvertently shared. More sensitive facts, such as the students’ Social Security numbers, were not disclosed.
“I was pretty upset because I feel like personal data of that nature shouldn’t be in a file that could easily be sent around,” said Emily Bertsche (SFS ’12), whose information was included in the data accidentally released.
“I wish I knew more information about what happened,” said Doug Wolff (SFS ’12), a senior whose GPA was included in the information.
The school sent out a clarifying response to those requesting more information about the error. Lucas Stratmann (SFS ’12), chair of the SFS Academic Council, said he hopes that the dean’s office will release the context of the incident.
“[An explanation] should be sent out to everyone so that there’s no uncertainty [about] what happened,” he said.
Some students, like Bertsche, feared that other personal data of hers could be contained in similar documents that could be similarly disclosed. She suggested that the SFS outline policies regarding the control and distribution of such information.
“It sounds like it was just carelessness … which could easily happen again. It’s hard not to let this affect my perception of the dean’s office,” she said.