There are data breaches, and then there are data dummies. The people at Baylor Law seem to be in the latter category.

Nobody was trying to steal the personal information of the admitted students at Baylor Law. But a screw-up by someone at the school resulted in all of the personal information of the admitted class getting transmitted to everybody else in the admitted class.

All of it. Names, addresses, grades, and LSAT scores. Pretty much everything besides social security numbers.

And, we have it….

Don’t worry, we’re not going to “out” anybody — mainly because we’re not as casual with personal information as the administrators at Baylor. The spreadsheet with everybody’s data was attached to the end of this email from the Baylor Law Director of Admissions:

Dear Admitted Students:

Due to technical difficulties of out online electronic payment system, the seat deposit deadline for the Fall 2012 class has been extended to Friday, April 6th. We apologize to all of our applicants who had trouble paying a seat deposit over the weekend, and we regret the inconvenience and frustration it caused. The payment system is getting an immediate upgrade today and will be back online tomorrow. Please call our office if you experience further difficulties. If you have already sent a check in the mail, then we will apply this to your seat deposit when we receive it.

Regards,

Nicole Masciopinto
Director of Admissions and Student Recruitment

We don’t know if Masciopinto made the mistake, or if it was just somebody in her office. But attached to this email were details on the entire admitted class.

That email was sent just after noon, yesterday. But by 7:30 p.m., Baylor Law was issuing an apology:

An e-mail sent earlier today to you inadvertently contained an attachment with personal information about you and other accepted applicants. We apologize for this error. The earlier email was sent in response to numerous phone calls and emails we received from applicants expressing concern that they were unable to make online seat deposits over the weekend because of technical difficulties with the university’s online payment system. The attachment did not contain social security numbers or birth dates and we do not have reason to believe that the information has been put to any unauthorized use at this time.

Our high standards of professionalism require us to treat all student data with the greatest degree of confidentiality and we regret this unfortunate mistake. Due to the sensitive nature of the information that was contained in the attachment, we ask you to treat the document as confidential, just as you would as a lawyer, and delete the information.

Again, we send our deepest apologies for this error. We sincerely regret any concerns caused by our action. We have taken steps to ensure that such a mistake is not made in the future.

Should you have additional questions regarding this matter, you may contact me by calling [Redacted], or Nicole Masciopinto, Director of Admissions, by calling [Redacted].

Sincerely,

Leah Jackson
Associate Dean and Professor of Law

Dean Jackson might be hot — she made the finals in our law school dean hotties contest — but her analogy is not. There’s no confidentiality here. There isn’t even a confidentiality analogy — I’m pretty sure sharing the stuff with everybody breaks any privilege.

Now, we’re not going to compound Baylor’s mistake by outing all of these innocent students who did nothing other than get admitted to a law school. But there is some newsworthiness to this gigantic mistake: namely, we’re getting a full look at the credentials of the Baylor Law admitted class. Not the average or median numbers that end up on U.S. News, but basic information about actual people admitted to a decent law school.

Let’s take a look at those “stats.” No names, but let’s look at the GPAs, the undergraduate universities for those GPA, and the LSAT scores of the students Baylor Law admitted…

UPDATE (4/6/2012): If you’re interested in the issue of affirmative action, check out this follow-up post, which discusses of how much of a “bump” minority applicants to Baylor received.


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