Top US college Princeton has transferred one senior dean and will discipline other admissions staff for their roles in snooping into the online admissions notification system at Yale.
Yale said that its website was accessed 14 times in April from computers in Princeton's admissions office. The spat triggered an FBI investigation.
Stephen LeMenager, Princeton's associate dean and director of admissions, improperly accessed a website designed to let applicants know whether they had been accepted to Yale. He claimed to have been testing the security of such a system.
LeMenager has been on paid administrative leave during the investigation and, following his dismissal from the admissions office, will be transferred to another department.
Princeton president Shirley Tilghman said: "Students who apply to Princeton, or to any other university, have every right to expect that the information they provide in good faith will be used only for the purposes for which they provided it and that their privacy and confidentiality will be respected. We clearly did not meet these expectations in this case."
According to Tilghman, Princeton will allow its long time dean of admissions and LeMenager's boss, Fred Hargadon, to remain until the end of the next academic year in June 2003 when he will retire as previously planned.
At least nine lower-ranking members of the university's admissions staff will also face disciplinary action.
Yale president Richard Levin issued a statement that said: "Tilghman has handled a very difficult situation in an exemplary manner."
Yale has referred the intrusions to the US attorney for Connecticut, and Tilghman said that Princeton is co-operating with the inquiry.
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