By Rachel Parker
January 20, 2006
Students who applied via the online application put out by the
Department of Student Housing were alerted through either an e-mail or
a letter that their private information might have been exposed.
According to a University Relations news release, a computer file with
names, addresses, birth dates, phone numbers, social security numbers
and credit card numbers was found accessible to the public on Dec. 16.
The lack of security affected students who applied and paid an
application fee online between April 29, 2001, and Dec. 16, 2005.
Becky Derdoski, Minnesota junior, applied online for residency in the
2003-2004 school year.
"That information was given years ago; I didn't think I had to worry
about it," she said.
Derdoski remembered a similar incident in which her personal
information was at risk of exposure. The Watkins Memorial Health
Center pharmacy sent out an e-mail to warn her about it her freshman
The housing department shut down its housing application Web site
after the routine computer check showed that security measures were
not working correctly.
Todd Cohen, University Relations Associate Director for news and
public issues, said an incident like this had never happened before at
"It is something that happens a lot at universities, unfortunately. We
want to make sure we take care of every precaution, and make everyone
fully aware," Cohen said.
While no evidence pertaining to unlawful use of student information
has been discovered, the threat to students is still prevalent. The
notification sent out to possibly affected students advised them to
place fraud alert through www.ku.edu/identity or to call the housing
department with any questions.
Out of about 9,200 online applicants in the past few years, only
students that gave contact information were notified. Not all affected
students still attend the University.
Since Jan. 18, 154 phone calls and 52 e-mails have been placed in
response to the incident, according to the Department of Student
The Web site has been shut down and applications are now being taken
manually until a new, secure site is up and working.
- Edited by Jodi Ann Holopirek
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