CLARA MEJÍA ORTA/THE HOYA
An unknown person or group breached the Corp’s internal email system and sent a graphic email to every staff member.

Jeff Cirillo is a staff writer for The Hoya.

An email containing pornographic content was sent to the staff of Students of Georgetown, Inc. after the student-run company’s internal email system experienced a breach yesterday.

The email, reviewed by The Hoya, included seven links to internet pornography and an attached image of two men, one labeled with Georgetown University’s logo and one labeled with the logo of Aramark, the university’s dining contractor, performing a sexual act on a woman labeled “The Corp.” The subject line of the email reads in part “[Corpwide] we getting f—ed.”

The email was sent from an email account presumably named for former Corp CEO Taylor Tobin (COL ’17), taylor@thecorp.org. Current Corp CEO Melina Hsiao (COL ’18) said the account was fake and never used by Tobin, and that The Corp’s information technology staff was working to confirm where the email originated.

The person responsible did not access sensitive information and did not delete or alter any Corp accounts or files. The Corp’s human resources department sent an email to Corp staff apologizing for the incident yesterday afternoon.

The graphic email follows a series of major dining renovations on campus, which saw dining contractor Aramark’s introduction of the Whisk bakery and coffee shop in O’Donovan Hall and a new location for The Corp’s Uncommon Grounds cafe on the second floor of the university bookstore in Leavey Center.

A former senior Corp employee, who declined to be named due to the graphic content mentioned in the article, said the new competition from Aramark for Corp coffee shops has been a topic of discussion among Corp staff.

“It’s absolutely something we’ve all been informed of and conversations with the staff have happened. We’re all very aware that UG has and will have competitors, but we really think it’s our strong community in UG that will keep people coming back,” the employee said. “We’re not too concerned.”

The incident comes during a year of changes for The Corp. The company had to purchase its own Wi-Fi network after the university’s Wi-Fi was deemed not secure for credit card transactions.

UG, its oldest cafe, is set to reopen this fall on the second floor of the university bookstore after 23 years in Sellinger Lounge. UG employees have raised concerns about how the new location, accessible from the Leavey Esplanade and the second floor of the bookstore, will affect the cafe’s customer traffic.

Hsiao said it “may have been beneficial” if the university had given more advanced notice of the planned changes to Sellinger Lounge last year, but The Corp is building “positive relationships” with university administration.

In a March interview, Hsiao said she was excited about the move, but also uncertain about how it will affect UG.

“It’s really exciting in some ways, and a little bit nerve-wracking; it’s going to be a major change to the flow of traffic in the Leavey Center, and that is likely going to be a major change to our business,” Hsiao said. “It is going to be interesting to see how that works out.”

Following yesterday’s incident, Hsiao said cybersecurity is not of particular concern for The Corp compared to other organizations.

“More important is the well-being and comfort of our employees, and it is regretful that a message containing such graphic content was circulated,” Hsiao said.

Editor’s note: The name of a source quoted in the article has been removed at the source’s request due to the graphic content discussed in the article.

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6 Comments

  1. Jack the Bullfrog says:

    Let’s not pretend this was some sort of external hack intended to shock the poor students with obscenity.

    The person used pornography to convey a political point about the relationship between the Corp and Aramark and the University. This political point is, realistically, only known by Corp members. Most likely this is a cultural issue. Someone with knowledge of users’ login info (which, knowing the level of the security at Students of Georgetown, could be anyone) tapped into Tobin’s account to send this message anonymously as a “joke.” Much like how Ted Cruz claimed his twitter like was the result of a “hack” the Corp will do the same here – rely on our ignorance of technology to hide their deeper shortcomings.

    • Bull the Jackfrog says:

      An employee being able to do something beyond the requirements of their job (such as send spam to an entire organization) is definitely still a “hack.” What the email author did is only marginally less involved than what Snowden or any other high profile insider threat has done and is more an information security concern than a cultural issue IMO. Very hard to defend against insiders at any company but the Corp especially so since they’re often underpaid, discontented, crude, and the last holdouts in a quickly bankrupting organization.

      • Jack the Bullfrog says:

        You’re making several clever assumptions.

        The email was not a spam message. It conveyed a potent political point relatable to the sentiments of Corp employees. It was political speech distilled through an obscene venue.

        We all know Students of Georgetown has information security problems. Nobody is even commenting how absurd it is that Tobin’s account can still distribute messages. That’s the surface level issue.

        The raw problem is that a Corpie feels comfortable distributing a pornographic message conveying their concern throughout the community. It’s indicative of the current state of the Corp culture. The Corp distributes bean water and rabbit food. It is a job. Somehow the Corp members have come to believe this guarantees them not only employment but an active social scene. Their employment is dependent not on their ability to provide bean water and rabbit food but on their ability to contribute to the unnecessary social element that has formed around the “storefronts.” The university needs to compel the Corp to function like any work-study staffed department.

  2. Hey it was totally the Corp’s decision to move UG to the center of that soul-sucking bookstore, where no one can get to it… I feel little empathy because this is how capitalism works, you make bad decisions, you get punished.

    • No, it was the university administration running roughshod over students. “We’re clearing out Sellinger to make it entirely study space, pick a place to move to” is not really giving the Corp a choice.

  3. Corp Non-Sympathizer says:

    Hey, at least they didn’t get slammed with Sodexo as the meal plan provider, they were going to stop doing flex at all Corp locations which would be even worse than a little competition over coffee/pastries.

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