BU notifies students, alumni of theft

For immediate release: Nov. 11, 2009

BLOOMSBURG — Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania is notifying current and former students who were enrolled in psychology professor Julie Kontos' classes from spring 2004 through the summer of 2006 about the possible loss of their social security numbers when a laptop was stolen from a campus office.

On Nov. 1, several computers and small digital devices were stolen from offices in BU's Centennial Hall. One of the devices is a laptop computer owned by the psychology department for the use by Kontos, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Bloomsburg University Police are conducting an investigation.

On Wednesday, Nov. 4, it was determined that the laptop's hard drive contained student rosters for psychology classes Kontos taught, beginning with spring 2004. Class lists from spring 2004 through summer 2006 included student grades and social security numbers which, at that time, were used as student identification numbers. The university replaced social security numbers with alternate student identification numbers in fall 2006.

"We have identified and are in the process of contacting all of the 574 students who were enrolled in Professor Kontos' classes during that time period and alerting them to what has taken place," said Wayne Mohr, assistant vice president for technology. "We are encouraging them to sign up for free credit monitoring with one of the three major credit bureaus to watch for any suspicious activity.

"Bloomsburg University is diligent in maintaining the privacy of student information," he said. "Social security numbers are no longer available as student identification. As we move forward we will take appropriate steps to ensure that all information on individual university computers is more secure."