Email prank creates chaos

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By Nisean Lorde

Tempers are flaring at Ryerson’s Jewish student association, Hillel, with members accusing their former president of sending false emails using the group’s name.

Two controversial emails have been sent using the organization’s email address, and some members of the Hillel board believe former president Lonny Kates is to blame.

The first false email was sent on Nov. 19 to Brian Wolk, who was president of Hillel last year and is still involved with the organization. Wolk was told that the Hillel committee decided he was no longer welcome at any future Hillel events because of his close ties with Kates.

Wolk contacted the organization demanding to know the meaning of the email, but eventually calmed down when he was told Hillel executives didn’t write it.

“He was pissed off about the email at first, but he called us to talk and then realized that we didn’t send it,” says Rosner, who is a first-year computer science student.

According to Hillel management, Kates was forced to resign as the Jewish Association’s president three weeks ago because of miscommunication between him and staff members.

Rosner had no proof that Kates was responsible for the email prank, but said that several pieces of circumstantial evidence pointed to the former president’s involvement.

A protocol search showed that the email had been sent from someone using Kates’ Internet provider, Sympatico, and the email used a phrase Rosner says was a favourite of Kates.

“The email stated ‘this is not personal,’” said Rosner. “That particular line is a Lonny [Kates] line.”

The day after Wolk received his email, a second message was sent to Hillel members, saying that all Hillel programs would be cancelled for the month of November, including pub nights and bagel lunches. It was signed by the Hillel board.

Hillel executives plan to file a complaint this week at Ryerson’s Harassment Prevention Office.

Rosner said that Hillel is still trying to prove who sent the emails, but that he was unimpressed with whoever had done it.

“I think anybody who goes out of their way to send these emails has nothing to do with their time,” said Rosner.

Kates denied having anything to do with the email prank, but refused to give comment.

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