Officials at University of Maine Farmington are trying to get to the bottom of who’s responsible for orchestrating a hoax that had everyone on campus believing the school’s president had died.
Monday night just after 5:00, a mass email was sent to faculty and students that put the entire University Maine of Farmington campus into a temporary state of shock. The email appeared to come from the associate provost of the school, Rob Lively, and stated that the school’s President, Kathryn Foster, had suffered a stroke and died suddenly at her home.
A link in the email said it would help students find grief counseling, but instead directed them to a pornographic website.
It was soon confirmed by school officials that Lively’s email account had been hacked and the claim of Fosters’ death was untrue.
“It was a hoax. I mean, it was a hoax just like hoaxes happen all the time. We’ve all received them in email. This one was of a much larger scale than we have seen on this campus,” said Fred Brittain, Executive Director of Innovation and Campus Technology for the University of Maine System.
In an email to faculty and students, President Foster confirmed she was very much alive.
“We are actively pursuing information about this appalling act. In the meantime, I write to tell you that I am fine, though deeply saddened that our community has been subjected to this fraud,” Foster wrote.
Foster has received an outpouring of support from the Farmington community. The IT staff at the school is hard at work to find whoever is responsible.
“We do have a team looking at it right now. We do have a forensics team taking a look to see what we can find. It’s an investigation,” said Brittain.