Sunday, February 4, 2007

Hoax Email(s)

Last night this was in my inbox, very official looking:
Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

On behalf of Harvard’s governing boards, we write to inform you that a
decision has been reached regarding Harvard’s next president. The search
for Harvard’s next president has been a long and arduous process.
Students, faculty, and alumni alike have dedicated countless hours
throughout these past seven months. Special thanks are in order to the
undergraduate student advisory committee: Whitney S. F. Baxter ’07,
Katherine A. Beck ’08, and Vivek G. Ramaswamy ’07.

We are pleased to announce the reinstatement of Lawrence H. Summers as
Harvard’s once and future president. We understand that the decision may
come as a surprise to those that have been following the selection
process. After reviewing the candidates, however, we have come to the
conclusion that Dr. Summers is best suited to lead Harvard, particularly
in our plans for Allston and beyond.

To address concerns regarding Dr. Summers’ previous tenure, we will be
hosting an open forum discussion with Dr. Summers to be held in Sanders
Theater on February 5, at 5:00 P.M. Three hundred seats will be
available for undergraduate students, to be distributed by an open
lottery. To enter the lottery, please call the Presidential Search
Committee at (617) 576-6565, and leave your name and e-mail address. The
deadline to enter is tonight, February 3, at midnight.

Again, thank you for your patience and support throughout this process.


The Presidential Search Committee
The next email in my inbox said:

Dear Students,

Please disregard the earlier e-mail labeled “Announcement from the Presidential Search Committee.” The e-mail was a hoax. We are currently looking into the source of this misinformation.

Given the substantial confusion caused by the incident, we feel compelled to make the actual announcement one day early. Former Dean of Harvard Law School, Elena Kagan, has been selected as the 28th President of Harvard University. An official press release will be issued in the upcoming hours, as well as a more formal introduction.

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