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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Bennett arrested for violating CAN-SPAM act*

Published: April 1, 2005
Section: News

Yesterday in a shocking development Assistant Dean of Student Life Alwina Bennett was arrested by federal agents for violating Federal Anti-Spam Laws.

Bennett, who sends hourly e-mails to students informing them that there is something going on somewhere, was apprehended at about noon in the usually quiet atmosphere of the second floor of the Shapiro Campus Center. The atmosphere was shattered when a least a dozen FBI agents, wearing raid windbreakers and with weapons drawn burst into the Student Life Office.

Said eyewitness Michael Reaganberg 07, It was surreal. I was there to ask Bennett to let the campus know of the Kosher dinner to be held in my suite during the second ModFest next week and all of a sudden these weird looking agents burts in.

Director of Public Safety Ed Callahan announced the arrest to the media in a press conference last night:

If its Thursday, then someone must be going to jail, he said. We are pleased to announce that in a joint task force with the FBI we were able to assertain that the Alwina spam bot was in fact a real human being residing in the Mods.

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2005 specifically prohibits persons from sending mail advocating random multi-cultural social events to large parties of persons, said noted bulk mail scholar Peter Woll (POL).

This act is designed specifically to prevent those persons aged 18-22 from receiving e-mails advertising dances that no one wants to attend and cultural events that just give people headaches when they try to keep track of all the different ethnic groups on campus. The legislative record reveals a real congressional concern with this sort of e-mail distracting members from those age groups from forms of recreation deeply rooted in American values, such as binge drinking, random sex, and streaking.

In a press conference announcing Bennetts indictment U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan stated, The degree to which the Brandeis students have been bombarded with senseless social advertising is just appalling. One student who testified before the grand jury revealed he was so overwhelmed by Bennetts e-mails that he was afraid of sleep for fear of missing an importan campus event. This form of social abuse cannot stand. Sullivan vowed to seek a harsh jail sentence for Bennett.

Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment Jean Eddy followed Callahans press conference with her own, stating, I am shocked and appalled that the trust of the students would be exploited like this. I am taking all necessary measures to ensure that Alwina is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and that this never happens again.

Eddy later elaborated on the administrations view that Bennetts senseless e-mails were distracting from values Brandeis wished to instill in its students, back in the day I used to see students hung-over everywhere on Mondays, now everyone just looks depressed.

Eddy stated she was highly disappointed at the lack of diversity in Bennetts e-mails.

Had she at least sent the e-mails with fake address or different subjects, I would have found it okay, but no, she had to always have that damn annoying subject line.

We know its a day of the week and something is happening somewhere, Eddy said.