A tote bag containing personal information for all Scripps College students was stolen from a staff member’s car the night of Nov. 18, according to an e-mail sent to Scripps students Nov. 20 from Dean of Students Bekki Lee and Dean of Faculty Amy Marcus-Newhall.
“One of the professional Student Affairs staff was in Anaheim and left the tote bag and other personal items in her car,” said Vice President for Communication and Marketing Marylou Ferry. “The car was broken into and the tote bag was among the items that were taken.”
Scripps policy requires that an on-call staff member must have this information at all times, in order to respond quickly in the case of an emergency. Staff members have shifts during which they must keep the bag. During these shifts, staff members are required to remain within a 30-mile radius of campus, Ferry said.
“The tote bag contained current students’ names, cell phone numbers, e-mail addresses, birthdate, school ID numbers, home and local addresses and emergency contact information,” Ferry said.
In their e-mail to the student body, Lee and Marcus-Newhall stated, “The car break-in appears to be unrelated to Scripps or the student information.”
The e-mail went on to list three major consumer reporting agencies, in case students want to monitor their credit reports for signs of suspicious activity.
Paloma Medina SC ’14 said, “I think I would be more concerned if my Social Security number got stolen. It’s pretty concerning, but it could definitely be worse.”
Kari Geiger SC ’13, however, was more worried about the general security of student information at Scripps. In July, the Office of Financial Aid reported a security breach in which student information was released to people not employed by the college.
“The fact that this security breach happened four months later, so two breaches within four months, is kind of careless and ridiculous frankly for such a high institution,” Geiger said.
Geiger said she was previously unaware of the policy that a staff member must keep a paper version of the students’ information.
“Initially, I was surprised that there is a paper version containing all of that information about students, because I think that’s pretty archaic and a security risk in and of itself,” she said. “The fact that the professional staff member of the Dean of Students office would do something like leave it in their car overnight, where it could be subject to attack, is kind of absurd.”
The school did not notify parents of the recent theft.
“I actually asked my parents, because the school usually notifies them about everything, but they didn’t know about it, so that was unusual,” Jessie Warren SC ’14 said.
Lee said there have not been any updates from the Anaheim Police Department regarding the incident.
“If anyone has anything that they feel is suspicious to them, they should immediately contact the Dean of Students, so that she can take immediate action on their behalf,” Ferry said.
Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article omitted the first name and job title of Scripps Vice President for Communication and Marketing Marylou Ferry. We regret this error.