EXCLUSIVE: Northeastern Emails Personal Information to Hundreds of Students

By Mike Saccone 3-13-2013 1024px-Northeastern_University_-_49

The Northeastern University School of Journalism is making news of its own.

Friday afternoon, administrative assistant Susan Conover sent an email to students with the names, grade point averages (GPAs) and other personal information of the graduating seniors.

“Safe to say a couple hundred students were affected,” a Northeastern spokeswoman said.

The email was supposed to be sent only to faculty members. Instead it went to 256 students. WEBN has obtained a copy of the email:

Folks

I’ve attached a spreadsheet of our undergraduates and graduates.  Please take a look and be prepared to discuss at the faculty meeting on March 20th.  I’ve added minors to the list for undergraduates.  We don’t necessarily need to do anything with them, but am curious on thoughts of eligibility for awards as well as invites to the reception.  The spreadsheet for graduates includes all students currently in the program.  Since it is a little more difficult to predict graduation year, I’m sending them all.  Other folks may have a better idea of whether a student will graduate in 2013 or 2014.

Susan

Attached to that email were two spreadsheets.  One contained the information of 59 undergraduate students while the other of the 20 graduate students. All 79 students were either journalism majors or had a minor in journalism. In addition to names and GPAs, the spreadsheets also contained student identification numbers, majors and minors, number of credits earned, and intended year of graduation.

Ten minutes after the email was sent, Conover followed up with this reply:

Please disregard and delete the previous e-mail I just sent.  It was an egregious mistake on my part.  My deepest apologies.

Northeastern released a statement saying, “Due to human error, an email was sent to a group of Northeastern University students containing their GPAs. The incident was an unfortunate mistake and we apologize to those affected. We are reviewing procedures to prevent a mistake like this from happening again.”

Several students posted their frustrations on Twitter. One student posted, “Hey, remember that time the College of [Arts, Media, and Design] accidentally sent an email to students containing award nominations and GPAs?”  Another replied using the student’s class rank from the email, “good one, number 28” only to be corrected, “27, get it right.”