The University says the microfilm contained the names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and other information from the former students.
The reel had been one of many being digitized by an outside party as part of an effort to preserve university data. University officials identified the reel as possibly missing after a group of microfilm reels was returned by the vendor digitizing the data.
Both the University of Akron and the vendor say an exhaustive search failed to turn up the missing reel. As a result, the university notified potentially affected alumni.
"Even though we believe this incident puts the affected graduates at extremely low risk of identity theft, we felt it was essential to notify them of this situation," says Dr. Charles J. Fey, UA's vice president for student affairs. "We also are offering any of the affected alumni a year of fraud protection service at no cost." Fey’s comments were part of a news release issued by the university.