Email Raises Student Privacy Concerns
Students were angered when Interim Associate Dean of Student Academic Resources Scott Backer accidentally sent an email last Friday to all students with academically applicable disabilities in which all names were visibly listed. Backer failed to blind carbon copy (Bcc) the list of students, and the entire list of names was disclosed to all recipients.
The email, entitled “Registering for Accommodations in the fall,” welcomed back students who had received reasonable accommodations in prior years through the Disability Services Office and needed to renew their requests for accommodations. Though the email allegedly went out to a somewhat significant portion of the University population, the list of names was intended to be confidential.
In a second email later that day, Backer apologized for the mistake.
“Early today you received an email from me in which I left all of your names in a visible field,” Backer wrote. “This was unintentional and yet very distressful to many. I am well aware of the need for privacy and your rights to confidential communication with this office. I hope you will see, as the year progresses, that such an error will not be indicative of the work I will do to support you and your academic pursuits.”
Backer assumed his new position as Interim Associate Dean only a few weeks ago after Sarah Lazare left the position to take a job at Westfield State University. Previously, Backer served as the Assistant Director of Student Life/Student Conduct.