UEA launch ‘full review’ after extenuating circumstances leak

The uni have apologised ‘unreservedly’ for the distress caused

In an updated statement, UEA have apologised “unreservedly” after an email was accidentally sent out leaking students’ confidential extenuating circumstances.

The updated comment from the university assured all those affected were immediately contacted and offered support, after a spreadsheet was sent to almost 300 students naming individuals alongside their extenuating circumstance, many of which are highly sensitive.

A statement released today by Professor David Richardson, Vice-Chancellor at UEA, reads: “An email was mistakenly sent to 298 American Studies undergraduates on 16 June containing the details of 42 students with extenuating circumstances. This clearly should not have happened and we apologise unreservedly for the distress it has caused.”

He continued: “We immediately contacted all the affected students to apologise, explain the situation and offer full support. The Student Support Centre was open over the weekend to respond to individual emails, phone calls and face-to-face enquiries and will continue to offer support, to both staff and students, for as long as it is needed.

“We also immediately launched a full review into how this serious error occurred and to ensure that it can never be repeated. Due to the seriousness of the incident, we have notified the Information Commissioner’s Office and are working with them on their investigation.”

The leak has been picked up by national press outlets, and caused significant distress to many involved.

The email contained the names and details of 42 American Studies undergraduates ruled to have extenuating circumstances. The information related to several private issues.

In light of the email, students were sent a follow up email urging them to delete the spreadsheet.

UEA’s Welfare, Community and Diversity Officer Jo Swo said: “Given the University is supposed to be making mental health a priority, this is a real slap in the face to students who have sought support.

We would advise any student affected to contact both the Student Support Service and the SU for support, and we’ll be urging the University to guarantee that a spike in demand for support caused by this failure will be resourced properly.”

Anyone affected by the data leak and in need of support should call 01603 592761.