Volume 92, Issue 99

Wednesday, April 7, 1999


Accessing student fees

USC answers to fee increase

New dean brings direction

Tuition refund email joke fools some students but not ITS

Activist's message is drink milk, endanger life


Damage and thefts grow in warm weather

Armour thrived on challenge

Tuition refund email joke fools some students but not ITS

By Wes Brown
Gazette Staff

The joke is on the fool who sent the April 1 tuition hoax as he has been apprehended.

Last Thursday an email was sent to thousands of Western students which said they would receive a $150 tuition refund. Roma Harris, Western's registrar, said the individual has been identified and she is intending to meet with him to discuss the impact of the hoax.

"The registrar line was tied up all day and extra staff had to be put on the Western switchboard. [Information technology services] also had to put a number of people on to trace the source of the message. The real disappointment was the number of students who came out for nothing," Harris said.

She added the meeting with the individual will be soon but refused to comment on who the individual was or when it would take place.

Behind the false email was a Western computer science student who did not want to identify himself due to final exams and his upcoming graduation.

A similar incident in 1997 saw a group of students send out a press release on official university letterhead to all local media stating tuition fees would be frozen for the upcoming academic year.

Denis Regnier, technical support manager for Western's ITS, as well as three other technicians traced the email logs back to the identification of the prankster.

Regnier said the time involved to resolve these issues takes away from productive work. "We spend a lot of time and effort to maintain the security levels at ITS. I can't stress enough the reaction to this prank will be quickly and seriously," he said.

Insp. Bob Earle of the University Police Department said although ITS has not come forward to press charges the charge would fall under spreading false news and is punishable by up to two years in jail.

"There is really no fraud or personable gain coming out of this prank, just an inconvenience and a lack of judgement on the individual's part," Earle said.

He added nothing like this has ever occurred at Western and the police would have to consult experts in the field if charges are pursued by ITS.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999