SOCORRO, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico Tech is known for training students to stop cyber attacks, to protect personal information on the Internet, but it seems the university committed a major technological mistake on Monday that could embarrass a lot of its students.
The roughly 2,100 students enrolled at New Mexico Tech in Socorro got an email Monday morning they weren’t expecting.
“We were looking at the schedule, and we opened it up and it happened to be not the schedule,” said Daulton Gray, a NM Tech student.
The email tells students, “Please see attached flyer for tutoring schedules,” but students who followed those instructions instead got a list of the entire student body—including their ID numbers, some phone numbers, some home addresses and how each student is doing in school—their academic standing.
“I don’t think that’s a good thing at all. Oh, I just feel so bad that this happened,” said Isabella Acevedo-Rodriguez.
“That is obviously a violation of my rights and privacy,” said Alexandria Strickland. “I looked up my name and there was all my information and I could find anybody else’s information.”
University President Daniel Lopez said a long-time employee in the Office of the Registrar accidentally attached the wrong file to the email.
“It was an unfortunate mistake,” Lopez said. “We’ve already had meetings with the responsible staff.”
Lopez said about 20 minutes after the email went out, the university had people working to retrieve and delete the emails that hadn’t already been opened.
He said they were able to delete about half of them.
They are also working on new protocols and training to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
“We take it very seriously. Any kind of breach of student privacy, obviously that’s protected by Federal law, is something we have to do everything in our power to try to avoid in the future,” Lopez said.
The president tells News 13 the woman who sent the email is a smart, hard-working employee, and she won’t lose her job over this one mistake.