BIG RAPIDS - On Friday, Oct. 26, 2007, a laptop computer assigned to an admissions recruiter for Ferris State University was stolen while the employee was in the greater Chicago area attending functions for prospective students. The computer, containing information pertaining to applicants to the University for the 2007 and 2008 school years, was stolen from the recruiter's locked automobile.
The data do not contain social security numbers, drivers' license numbers, credit card information or financial information of any kind. Students and applicants to earlier class years are not affected.
The information does include names, addresses and dates of birth, as well as telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. It also includes academic information related to the admissions process and the student identification number assigned to each applicant. Access to the computer is protected through two levels of user identification and passwords.
The theft remains under investigation.
To assist affected students, the University has established a Web site, that includes suggestions for possible action and links to resources. Additionally, a toll-free number, (800) 433-7747, has been established for students who may have questions about this incident.
"Although no one can access a student's account without a student ID card as an additional safeguard, we are contacting students and giving them information on how to minimize any possible impact from the theft," said Vice President for Student Affairs Daniel Burcham. "While this theft is disturbing, we do not have any evidence that any of the information has been extracted or used."
"We regret this situation and are sorry that applicants' personal information was on this computer when it was stolen" said Ferris State University President David L. Eisler. "These data have been removed from all laptop computers, and we are reviewing security precautions and protocols for the handling of student information. We will make every effort to ensure that this does not happen in the future."
The University is contacting applicants whose information was contained in these files today via e-mail and regular mail.