Laptop stolen with student data, contained personal information of 3,400 CSU System pupils

April 17, 2008

By Eileen FitzGerald, Staff Writer

The Connecticut State University System announced Wednesday a laptop computer that was stolen from a vendor contained the data of about 3,400 current and former students from the four state universities, including Western Connecticut State University.

The computer was password-protected but contained unencrypted files with personally identifiable data, including names and Social Security numbers for certain students who attended Central, Eastern, Southern and Western Connecticut State universities between September 2001 and December 2004.

State university system officials contacted the students about steps they can take to protect their identities.

"We sent a letter to students Monday," system spokesman Bernard Kavaler said Wednesday. "There is no indication that the student records are being used for anything, but the chancellor (David Carter) felt it was imperative to contact the students immediately. We are telling them to check their credit and have protection in place."

The university system already contacted Attorney General Richard Blumenthal in case any further steps were required, Kavaler said.

SunGard Higher Education, provider of the state system's student data management software, informed officials April 9 that a laptop computer owned by SunGard and in the possession of one of its employees had been stolen.

The data was originally provided for SunGard to perform various services for the university system, but it was apparently retained longer than necessary to perform those services, Kavaler said.

Paul Steinmetz, a WestConn spokesman, declined to comment and directed all inquiries to the state university system.

Kavalar said Southern and Central had more students affected since they have more students, but the system hasn't heard from any students yet. Most of the students affected would have graduated by now.

"Based on the information we have, the names were not related to any specific group," he said.

main page ATTRITION feedback