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SU statement on the sensitive student data leak by the university

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In response to the sharing of sensitive student data by the university, uea(su) has demanded that UEA’s Student Support Services (SSS) department put in extra resources into dealing with this matter urgently and swiftly. We have managed to secure the following for students:

  • SSS will call in extra staff support, who are mental health/emotional well-being professionals .
  • SSS front desk staff will fast track anyone affected by this issue in terms of their appointment.
  • Those who need to be seen immediately will be and follow up appointments will be offered.
  • If the demand on SSS staff is high, then they will call in additional staff to ensure all students affected are seen quickly.
  • It’s likely that SSS will have more staff to ensure that when demand is high, students who have appointments already booked, are seen to.

Commenting on the situation, Undergraduate Education Officer Theo Antoniou Phillips said

“This is a shocking and utterly unacceptable data breach that should never have happened. There are questions that the University needs to answer both about this case itself and the antiquated underpinning systems in the Hubs that result in cases like this being logged on rudimentary excel files in the first place. It is particularly galling given that students are required to divulge sensitive information to have an EC upheld, so the least the University can do is keep their data safe. In this case UEA’s ‘do it on the cheap until it goes wrong’ approach will have had devastating results for the students concerned and has to change.”

Welfare Community and Diversity Officer Jo Swo has added

“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. Students will be rightly furious that something like this could happen- and given the nature of the personal detail revealed in the email 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. We want to reassure students that advice(su) is free, confidential and completely independent from the University for anyone seeking any support during this time.”

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