To the Editor:
First, I want to be clear to both the Defender staff and your readers-we are very sorry for the posting of applicant information through the Outlook Public Folder system.
I have been really agonizing over exactly how to respond to the editorial in the recent Defender entitled 'FERPA boo-boo.' There are several points I wish to make, but the most important is to apologize for my choice of words in describing the situation in relation to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. When being interviewed by Rob Zodda for the article about the posting of this information I wanted to be sure that I did not use the words FERPA Violation because I think that word implies that this was a conscious decision to violate the FERPA law. I regret my choice of the word boo-boo as a replacement. Perhaps error would have been a better choice. Hindsight is always 20:20.
The posting of our applicant list and some of their information in a Public Folder was not an intentional act by our office. We were under the very mistaken belief that this was a secure folder open only to those with specific educational purpose to see this information. One puzzle to us is how it might have been found, as it was not prominently listed in the folders and one would have to do some work to find it. However, that said, I want our students and applicants to know that the FERPA law is one that we take very seriously in the office of admission. In fact, the revelation that the list was open to those outside of our office prompted us to immediately remove the information and we are grateful to the anonymous tip that revealed this fact.
We appreciate the comparison to the highly ethical Boston College and their immediate notification to their alumni that their information was compromised but believe that these are two very different scenarios. That said we are very sorry that it did happen and want to reiterate that applicant information is now secure.
Director of Admission
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