Fake email sparks outcry at ODU

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A student’s misstep was the catalyst in a series of events — involving a fake university email account — that caused quite a stir among students at Old Dominion University this week.

“When I first got the email I thought, ‘it’s just one fellow student, ok’,” said Smoud Issa, and ODU student. “Then, once everyone started replying, our phone was going crazy.”

“I live in Stafford county, and people were texting me three hours north from here saying, ‘did you see the emails?’ and I was like, ‘what are you talking about?'” said student Ezichi Chukwu.

Jennifer Mullen Collins with marketing and communications at ODU told WAVY.com she sent an email to the student body about the status of classes amid winter weather conditions. Someone “replied all” to that email, inadvertently revealing the group email list, and another person, who remains unknown at this time, created a fake Gmail account in Collins’ name and sent the following response to all students:

Because of the recent weather and the large outcry of student emails, Old Dominion University will be closed tomorrow, Jan. 23.

Classes are currently scheduled to resume again Friday. Please continue to monitor the University Announcements for further updates.

There was also a robbery reported in the vicinity of 42nd and Elkhorn. Three homeless people are now even poorer. But who cares, no one reads these emails anyway unless someone gets out of class early.

Several students took to Twitter to complain about the email, believing it was real, and Collins was forced to explain the situation on the university’s Facebook page.

“I was excited for class to be canceled,” said Colin Dalton, a student. “I was surprised because they said in the previous email we would resume normal operations today.”

Collins told WAVY.com how the incident was able to occur and how the school plans to avoid it happening again:

When the weather update email was sent last night to students, the permissions were mistakenly set to allow access to the group email address.  That mass email group address has been deleted and a new one with the correct restrictions has been put into place.  All student email accounts are hosted external to the university.  No university systems were impacted.

Ultimately, the university delayed opening until 10 a.m. Thursday, with classes beginning at 11 a.m.

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