Students upset with the tighter alcohol policies announced in March by Vice President of Student Affairs Mark Poorman, CSC, had to be surprised when they received an e-mail from him in May announcing the changes had been rescinded.
It was a hoax and a fairly convincing one.
The subject line of the e-mail read RE: IMPORTANT CHANGES TO ALCOHOL POLICY. It carried a return address of firstname.lastname@example.org, suggesting it had come from the Campus Life Council. Inside was a message signed by Poorman saying the bans on hard alcohol and in-hall dances had been lifted.
The purported reason? Faulty data from the National Association College Drinking Prevention, an apparently fictitious group that the note said Notre Dame officials had relied upon in formulating the rule changes. The message said the association’s surveys were skewed because they included “public, or ‘state’ schools . . . which have much higher overall drinking figures compared to private schools.”
It was at this point most readers smelled hoax.
The University eventually tracked down the student culprits, who now face disciplinary action.
Notre Dame Magazine, summer 2002