The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Professor Bonnie Yankaskas today jointly released the following statement:

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Professor Bonnie Yankaskas today jointly released the following statement:

“The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has settled its dispute with Bonnie C. Yankaskas, Ph.D., a professor of radiology in the University’s School of Medicine. 

Dr. Yankaskas serves as Principal Investigator of a University research project, the Carolina Mammography Registry (CMR). In the summer of 2009, University officials discovered a computer hack and potential data security breach on a computer server owned by the University but operated and maintained by CMR, through which identifying personal and medical information of approximately 180,000 women, including Social Security numbers in approximately 114,000 cases, were potentially accessed by an unauthorized hacker. 

Dr. Yankaskas appealed from the University’s imposition of disciplinary action against her in response to the security breach. The parties have now settled all disputes between them regarding the disciplinary action. Dr. Yankaskas has agreed to dismiss her appeal, provide the University with a full release of all claims and retire from University employment on or before Dec. 31, 2011. The University has agreed to pay Dr. Yankaskas $175,000 toward her legal fees, reinstate her as a full professor and rescind her salary cut.

The University acknowledges that Dr. Yankaskas is an eminent researcher and a long-standing faculty member, and that she has made many contributions to the advancement of science and the improvement of health care for women concerned about or experiencing breast cancer. The University also acknowledges that there was a communication breakdown, which hindered Dr. Yankaskas from learning that CMR had a vulnerable server. Dr. Yankaskas acknowledges that, as principal investigator of CMR, she had the responsibility for the scientific, fiscal and ethical conduct of the project, and responsibility to hire and supervise the CMR information technology staff who, with assistance as requested from School of Medicine and University information technology professionals, operate and maintain the CMR computer systems on which secure data are maintained.”

Note:  The settlement stipulates that this statement is the public comment. The funds used to pay the settlement costs will come from the University’s non-state sources.

Contact:  Mike McFarland, University Relations, (919) 962-8593, mike_mcfarland@unc.edu

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