Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Confidential Student Information Sent to 298 Undergraduates By Mistake

University of East Anglia (UEA) based in Norwich has accidentally sent sensitive personal information about vulnerable students to all of those studying at their American Studies School.

The email contained a spreadsheet listing 172 names and details extenuating circumstances in which extensions and other academic concessions were granted to 42 students.
One student whose details were included in the spreadsheet said "I felt sick at seeing my personal situation written in a spreadsheet, and then seemingly sent to everyone on my course,"

"My situation was not the worst on there but there are some on there that are so personal. There are people I know and I feel so awful for them and can't imagine how they are feeling."

In light of the email, students were sent a follow up email urging them to delete the spreadsheet.

UEA’s Welfare, Community and Diversity Officer Jo Swo said: “Given the University is supposed to be making mental health a priority, this is a real slap in the face to students who have sought support.

We would advise any student affected to contact both the Student Support Service and the SU for support, and we’ll be urging the University to guarantee that a spike in demand for support caused by this failure will be resourced properly.”

A statement released by Professor David Richardson, Vice-Chancellor at UEA, reads: “An email was mistakenly sent to 298 American Studies undergraduates on 16 June containing the details of 42 students with extenuating circumstances. This clearly should not have happened and we apologise unreservedly for the distress it has caused.”

He continued: “We immediately contacted all the affected students to apologise, explain the situation and offer full support. The Student Support Centre was open over the weekend to respond to individual emails, phone calls and face-to-face enquiries and will continue to offer support, to both staff and students, for as long as it is needed.

“We also immediately launched a full review into how this serious error occurred and to ensure that it can never be repeated. Due to the seriousness of the incident, we have notified the Information Commissioner’s Office and are working with them on their investigation.”

Anyone affected by the data leak and in need of support should call 01603 592761.

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