The North Dakota University System data exposure report below details an incident in which the private information of students and university system employees was exposed, but apparently not reported to them as it wasn’t specifically required by law.
NDUS “whistle blower” Linda Baeza Porter was responsible for the breach according to the report. Porter was the NDUS employee who accused Chancellor Hamid Shirvani of manipulating data after he used peer comparisons for graduation rates and other data points that were other than the ones Porter and certain university presidents preferred.
Porter’s accusations against Chancellor Shirvani have always seemed…odd. Perhaps, in the context of Porter’s job being at risk as a result of this data breach, seeking whistleblower protections makes more sense.
The timing of the data exposure, and Porter’s accusations against Chancellor Hamid Shirvani, are interesting.
March 19th is the day this data exposure was detected. On March 20th, Linda Porter first contacted a member of the State Board of Higher Education about Chancellor Shirvani’s supposed data manipulation.
According to the document, Porter provided an after-action report on the data exposure on March 22nd. This same day she met with at least one, and possibly more, members of the SBHE in person.
The report indicates there was a meeting involving multiple staff members of the IT organization on Tuesday afternoon March 26 to begin the formal evaluation of the data exposure incident of which Linda Porter was the cause. This is the afternoon before she testifies to the legislative committee and makes her first public accusations against Chancellor Shivani for data exposure.
Even as Porter made accusations against Chancellor Shirvani – baseless accusations in the eyes of this observer – she was facing an inquiry over a data exposure incident that could cost her job. Now, with Porter claiming whistle blower status, that is a lot more complicated. Any termination at this point might be deemed retaliation for her supposed whistle blowing.
NDUS spokeswoman Linda Donlin, who also confirmed the authenticity of the report below, told me in an email that “the matter of disciplinary action is still being reviewed.”
Previous reports indicate that Porter has hired attorney and former North Dakota Democrat Party chairman Mark Schneider to represent her in a lawsuit against the university system.