University of Illinois students’ information distributed in mass email

What happened? A university staff member unintentionally emailed the personal and academic information of all 5,247 students in the University of Illinois’ College of Engineering to 714 students.

What types of personal information? The email contained each student’s name, email address, major, gender, race and ethnicity, class, date admitted, grade point average (GPA) for the spring 2007 semester, cumulative GPA, address and phone number.

The email did not contain Social Security numbers or student identification numbers.

What was the response? The staff member immediately contacted the college's associate dean and sent students a follow-up email asking them to delete the original message.

The university’s central administration was notified.

All mass emails will now be overseen by the dean’s office.

Staff will be retrained on data handling.

Administrators met Monday on how to best notify affected students.

Details: The purpose of the original email was to notify electrical and computer engineering students of a new class on Lego robotics.

Quote: “It was a mistake, an accident. It was completely unintentional,” said university spokeswoman Robin Kaler.

Source: The News-Gazette (Urbana/Champaign, Ill.), Aug. 27, “UI students’ information accidentally sent with email

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