University of Iowa accidentally emails confidential student info

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The same day the Board of Regents approved a plan to monitor transparency at state schools, the University of Iowa became a little too transparent.

The university’s Center for Diversity and Enrichment accidentally emailed names, enrolled credit hours and grade point averages of about 2,000 students just after 4 p.m. Wednesday, February 6, 2013.

The emails went to students who are connected to the center.

In a follow-up email, university officials asked those students to delete the emails, and to shred any hard copies they might have printed.   The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act protects the information sent in the emails.

“UI leaders have begun to notify the affected students about the error. The university has also apologized to the students and informed them that corrective action is being taken to remedy the situation and to prevent a recurrence. The students have also received information about how to receive counseling and support services in cases where they feel that would be helpful,” said an online statement from the university’s communication and marketing office.

As a result of the incident, the university reportedly plans to revamp its protocol so mass emails would be reviewed by the sender and one other person before they are sent.

The same day the email was sent, the state’s Board of Regents approved creation of a nine-member commission to ensure Iowa’s state schools adhere to the state’s updated Sunshine Laws which require public access to government documents including documents kept by public universities.