Santa Clara University

Intrusion into SCU Student Grade Records

A Letter from Fr. Engh

November 14, 2011

Subject: Intrusion into SCU Student Grade Records

Dear Santa Clara Community,

I write to inform you that later today Santa Clara University will release the statement below to the media regarding an intrusion into the University's computerized academic records system. Unauthorized access to the system took place between June 2010 and July 2011 and resulted in grades being altered, affecting a handful of current undergraduate students and approximately sixty former undergraduate students.

Upon learning of the computer intrusion, we notified the FBI and have continued to cooperate fully with its ongoing investigation. The FBI's investigation has now reached a stage where they have permitted us to notify the community of this intrusion.

Under the direction of Dennis Jacobs, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, we have undertaken a comprehensive examination of all affected records and are taking steps to restore them to their proper form. This will include contacting individual faculty, students, and former students whose grades may have been altered. We have also enlisted the assistance of outside experts to review our internal processes and data security measures to enhance the integrity of our computer system.

We have treated this intrusion with the utmost seriousness because of the threat to our academic records and to our integrity as an institution of higher learning. While this event is disappointing to our community, it stands in stark contrast to Santa Clara's fundamental commitment to educating for ethical reasoning and personal integrity. I thank you for your understanding and support as we resolve this issue and continue the mission of Santa Clara University to form students who will shape a better world for all.


Michael E. Engh, S.J.
Santa Clara University


Press Release: SCU Announces Intrusion Into Grades Records (11/14)

Santa Clara University today announced that it is working closely with law enforcement officials to investigate an intrusion into its computerized academic record system that resulted in a limited number of undergraduate students having their grades changed.

Officials said that a review of the tens of thousands of grade records since the year 2000 identified unauthorized grade changes impacting a handful of current undergraduate students and approximately sixty former undergraduate students. These grade changes are attributed to someone gaining illegal access into Santa Clara University's computer system between June 2010 and July 2011.

There is no evidence to suggest that other personal information of students, staff or faculty has been compromised.

Upon learning of the computer intrusion, the University promptly contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Law enforcement officials are thoroughly investigating this unfortunate episode,” said Michael Engh, S.J., president of the university. “We shall continue to cooperate with the FBI as it brings this matter to a proper conclusion.”

Officials said the University takes seriously allegations of unauthorized computer access and grade tampering and will pursue legal action if appropriate. In addition, the University has a Student Conduct Code that prohibits falsification or misuse of University records. Violations of the conduct code are adjudicated through the University Judicial System with consequences as significant as expulsion.

“Investigators are piecing together how the computerized academic record system was illegally accessed,” said Dennis Jacobs, Santa Clara's Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “The university has also taken several steps to increase its network security and will continue to implement additional safety and security measures to reduce any chance of a similar incident happening again.”

The university is contacting individual faculty members whose grades appear to be inappropriately modified to verify that they did not authorize any of the undocumented grade changes.

“We want to reassure all affected students that the university will work to rectify their grade records and ensure the integrity of their transcript,” said Jacobs.

Students, faculty, staff, and alumni with questions about the investigation can go to for further information.