July 12, 2006
ATHENS, Ohio - The number of financial donations received by Ohio
University dropped in the two months after the school announced electronic
break-ins of its computer system.
The decline resulted from a downturn in fundraising efforts that followed
the five security breaches and a large number of first-time donors in 2005
who did not continue giving, university officials said.
About a half-dozen mailings and 3,000 fundraising telephone calls were
eliminated "in response to the increased sensitivities over the data
security issues that our alumni communicated to us," the school said in a
Students who normally make calls for donations were shifted in May and
June to fielding calls from alumni seeking more information about the data
breaches, said Larry Lafferty, OU's executive director of development.
While the university received 4,882 donations in May and June last year,
it received 3,693 in those months this year.
The amount donated during that period increased from $900,000 last year to
$2.6 million this year, according to preliminary figures.
Molly Mayo Tampke, interim vice president for university advancement, said
it was too early to determine the impact the data thefts had on donations.
"We've heard from some people who are unhappy and prefer not to give
again," she said.
The computer breaches exposed about 367,000 files containing Social
Security numbers, names, medical records and home addresses.
Last month, the board of trustees voted to spend up to $4 million to
bolster the university's computer security system.
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