When Alumni Interviewers Screw Up, Things Get Weird

At first, the message seemed harmless. On November 8, dozens of high-school seniors in the San Diego area received an email from an alumnus of Harvard University. "Thank you for applying," it began. "We look forward to meeting you this Sunday."

The recipients had signed up for one-on-one interviews with Harvard graduates, which would take place four days later in La Jolla. The email described the event as an opportunity for alumni "to get to know you better and help advocate for your admission." The message included logistical details and a plea for punctuality. It also included something strange: personal information for more than 80 local applicants.

Sent by accident, the attached file listed each teenager’s name, telephone number, email address, high school, and academic concentration. One column appeared to indicate whether an applicant was a first-generation college applicant. Another column, labeled "iv profile," contained numerical ratings for several students who had already been interviewed.

The breach of privacy alarmed some students and parents.

Read more at The Chronicle of Higher Education: https://www.chronicle.com/article/When-Alumni-Interviewers-Screw/241835