The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

April 18, 2014

Porn prank riles Bucknell University president

LEWISBURG — A fake email that contained a link to a pornographic website was sent to Bucknell students, faculty and staff on Tuesday night.

The email — made to look like it came from Dean of Students Susan Lantz — was sent at 10:14. It was similar to fake emails mailed out at Bucknell on April Fools’ Day.

Administration officials said the university’s computer system was not hacked nor was security compromised.

After learning about this most recent email, Bucknell President John Bravman responded with a campuswide email of his own at 1:16 a.m. Wednesday.

In his email, Bravman warned that any student “who falsely posts to a list will be subject to suspension or expulsion under the statutory authority granted to the president of Bucknell.”

After the April 1 emails, the university put in place measures aimed at preventing those types of fake emails from being sent to Bucknell’s distribution lists — such as the one that goes to all students. Some spoofed messages have been stopped, Bravman noted, but “tonight’s falsified message was not.”

The school continues to investigate the source of the emails.

“Technically,” Bravman said, “it is almost impossible to prevent some of these messages from getting through. Free expression has always been threatened by the actions of those who would seek to compromise one of our most cherished rights, but collectively we can join together and not let anyone diminish us, especially by employing such cowardly ploys.”

Andy Hirsch, Bucknell director of media communications, said, “We have made additional changes to how those distribution lists are accessed. We are taking this very seriously. These distribution lists are intended to be used for a variety of purposes, including emergency and other time-sensitive messaging. Undermining the integrity of those intended uses potentially compromises campus safety.”

School officials believe the email came from an Internet site where one can generate spoof emails and make them look official, Hirsch said.

Bravman asked “that everyone use their best judgment in reading posts that seem to be specious, misleading, ugly or perhaps even ‘too good to be true.’ ”

He also called for cooperation, asking anyone who has knowledge of the postings to help identify the guilty parties. “We are better than them,” Bravman said.

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