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MIT Students Get Hoax Email Saying Class Canceled

This article is more than 7 years old.

University officials say an email purportedly from the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology saying classes had been canceled Wednesday because of threats related to the Aaron Swartz case was a hoax.

The college said in a statement on its website that the email supposedly from President L. Rafael Reif sent to students at 1 a.m. was from "an in individual pretending to be him" and "the Institute will operate as usual" Wednesday.

The Tech student newspaper had an apology from a named student who admitted sending the email.

On his own website, the student called his actions "completely inappropriate," and said he feels terrible for scaring and upsetting people.

He said the hoax started as an argument between friends about how easy it was to send a spoof email from anyone, but what he intended as a prank backfired.

"I wasn't even thinking about the Aaron Swartz case," he wrote.

An MIT spokeswoman said she could not confirm the student's name, or whether that person is facing punishment.

Swartz was an Internet freedom activist facing federal prosecution for allegedly hacking into MIT's computer system. He killed himself in January.

This article was originally published on March 20, 2013.

This program aired on March 20, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

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