Uncle Sam e-mails you

The University provided students’ e-mail addresses to campus military recruiters.

Kathryn Nelson

The University has acknowledged that it provides students’ personal information to the military for recruitment purposes.

And because of that, several University students reported receiving an e-mail from the Marine Corps Officer Program earlier this month.

Although students may believe their personal contact information is private, the Solomon Amendment enables military personnel to obtain data for the purpose of recruitment if the school receives federal funding.

On March 19, Jonneke Koomen received an e-mail from the Marine Corps Officer Program, seeking “well-rounded, goal-oriented, physically fit individuals” interested in becoming a Marine Corps officer.

Koomen, a political science graduate student, said he became concerned that the University was providing students’ contact information to recruiters after several of his friends received the same e-mail.

Koomen questioned Capt. K.C. Gawronski, the original sender of the e-mail, about how he obtained University students’ information. In his e-mail response, Gawronski said the University is legally required to give the military certain information.

“Though not required to give e-mail addresses, they obliged my request,” he said in the message.

Under the 1996 Solomon Amendment, the Secretary of Defense is able to deny federal funding to higher education institutions if the establishment prohibits military recruitment on campus.

recruitment email

The following e-mail was sent out to University students:

Dear Student,

I am the Marine Corps Officer Selection Officer for your college. My job is to find qualified college students who have what it takes to become Marine Corps Officers. I am not an enlisted recruiter. The Program I run is competitive and students must be selected by a board. Consequently, I am looking for well-rounded, goal-oriented, physically fit individuals.

Unlike ROTC, there is no commitment during the school year; training takes place during the summer and will not interfere with your schooling. I included two website links below. They are not official Marine Corps websites; both were created by students involved with the Program. I include them instead of official sites because they provide more information and allow you to contact students in the Program.

Marine Officer Programs informational sites http://www.tc.umn.edu/~marines and http://www.und. nodak.edu/org/mao/marine_home.html

Please look over the sites and email or call my office with any questions. Thank you very much and I hope to hear from you.


Captain K. C. Gawronski
Marine Corps Officer Programs (800)247-7584

This email was sent to you to assess your interest in the Marine Corps. If you prefer to not receive future emails, click http://usmc.marines.com/unsubscribe, or copy and paste this URL into your browser. Please review our privacy policy at http://www.marines.com/privacy_policy/default.asp

And because the University receives federal funding, it is bound by this amendment, said University spokesman Dan Wolter in an e-mail.

The amendment states that military recruiters are able to obtain student information, such as “names, addresses, telephone listings, dates and places of birth, levels of education, academic majors, degrees received and the most recent education institution enrolled in by the student.”

Wolter said this is all publicly accessible information under the Data Practices Act, with exception to the date and place of birth.

Second Lt. Phillip Wiktor, who works with Gawronski, said students’ contact information is public knowledge.

“Basically, if you opt to put (contact information) on One Stop, the University considers it public information, and they basically give it to people who request it,” he said.

Wolter said, in compliance with federal law, the University does not give recruiters personal information that students have suppressed.

Wiktor said before the Marines send out a mass recruitment e-mail, all student addresses are run through a national “do not e-mail” list.

It is unclear how many students received this specific e-mail, but Koomen didn’t appreciate being one of them.

“I find it irresponsible of the University to give out student e-mail addresses to military recruiters – though I also suspect it’s standard practice,” he said.

– Conrad Wilson contributed to this report.