Student’s personal information is sent to hundreds by Tufts computer system

Update 6:30 PM: In an email, Kim Thurler, a university spokesperson, provided an update on the investigation into the incident. Thurler says the incident has been thoroughly investigated and that “Tufts Technology Services determined that the cause was a bug in [the] Student Information System.” She added that this was due to a rare occurance.

The bug has been fixed and the university has expressed their deep regret to the student involved with the incident.

At 5:17 PM on Wednesday, June 24, the Tufts computer system distributed a confirmation of a Tufts student’s leave of absence, which included personal information such as the student’s ID number, major and housing status, to 1299 recipients.

The rising junior, who requested her name not be published, was, herself, informed of the confirmation only a minute beforehand through a separate email. She discovered the subsequent 1299-person distribution after a friend, who had received the email, asked her if she had forwarded him the email.

According to Dean Mary Pat McMahon, in an email exchange with the Tufts student, the matter is being investigated and recipients of the email have been asked to delete it.

At 5:17PM today you and others received a status notification message from Tufts Student Services that was not intended for you; please disregard and delete this message.

Student Services and Technology Services are investigating the cause of this mailing. We regret the error and thank you for your cooperation.

McMahon also said, in a subsequent email with the student, that she and the Dean of Student Services, Paul Stanton, are working to get the student a new Tufts ID number as soon as possible.

As for how the student reacted, in a chat conversation, she expressed feeling more uncomfortable, “[I]t made me quite suspicious and as a survivor it made me feel more unsafe and further disrespected.”

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University President, Anthony Monaco, reportedly also reached out to the student, offering his apologies, saying “I will personally follow up on this and you will be kept informed.”

Dean Mary Pat McMahon and Dean Paul Stanton could not be immediately reached for comment.

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I am a photojournalist and digital reporter with an interest in media innovation, digital platforms, and political systems. I make pictures and report on labor.

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