Where is "the BBC," anyway?

An e-mail alert I received yesterday from the Dean’s Office:

A Liberal Arts faculty member just reported to our office that an individual came to his office today who said his name was Mark D——.  He said he was a communication studies student and asked for donations to “get him to the BBC.”  Our office checked with Communication Studies, and they said they have no student by that name.  Certainly this solicitation is not authorized by that department nor the Dean’s Office.  If this fellow shows up at your office, please send him to the Dean’s Office.  If you need assistance, please contact us or the Baa Ram U. police.

Random criminals casing the joint and trying to shake down the faculty when they’re in their offices:  awesome!  This is slightly more creative than the students who crawled around through our dropped ceilings and broke into faculty offices to steal copies of exams.  (Other than some purse snatchings from open offices, that’s the sum total of our crime report in the College of Liberal Arts most years.)

0 thoughts on “Where is "the BBC," anyway?

  1. Clearly this person has heard that proffie types LOVE things like the BBC. (Also public television, the New York Times, and NPR, but I bet the person thought he’d have a rougher time of it if he went with “places” that are stateside.)


  2. You know, I got a random e-mail from a “student” claiming that s/he was trapped in Britain after being robbed and really needed to be wired some money ASAP. Apparently the scammers are imagining that profs are a more gullible crew these days?


  3. Maybe it *is* a student, and the Dean’s Office is denying it because, wow, how embarrassing if students now need to panhandle the halls of academe to complete their projects. Try asking for a research prospectus with proposed budget attached. Or maybe a project veering into a “human subjects” gray area? In which case a request to see the IRB approval file might have the appropriate chilling effect. Or even Wiki “BBC” on the “disambiguation” page to find out if it’s something other than that august, state-run media company.


  4. Do you have any leads on where I can invest in some Nigerian diamonds, preferably those held in trust on behalf of an exiled prince? Let me know.

    Shaz, I don’t think faculty would fall for this–I think the point of the e-mail was to make us aware of this skeezeball so that he could be apprehended. I’ll keep you posted if I get any further updates. (I sort of wonder if that was a line he cooked up on the spot because he was trying the handles of office doors, and he happened to find someone in his office. . . )


  5. Great tale, Historiann! Do you really think the fellow had to make something up on the fly when caught with his hand on the office doorknob? His panhandling story certainly is distracting in a weird way, but I would have thought a more sensible line for someone trying to enter in search of another person’s wallet would have been “This isn’t HR? I’m here to pick up my application. No?” Or “I’m looking for Jerry Grabowski [or another longish name]. Wrong office?”

    So I’m inclined to think he was a con man rather than a sneak thief.


  6. You may be right, LadyProf, but he’s a dumba$$ thief. What was his plan if someone asked him to whom they should write out a check? Was he taking cash donations only? Did he not think faculty capable of checking out his (pretty weak) story?


  7. Summer session is perfect time for this because there are so few profs around. Last month, one of my colleagues was targeted by a guy who was cruising the nearly-empty hallways in the offices, waiting for some trusting prof to pop down the hall and leave his or her door open (as we often do). Colleague came back 3 minutes later to find his laptop swiped. Props to fortysomething colleague, who ran this guy down and got his laptop back.


  8. About 20 years ago when the Internet was an abstract term and only few were using email, I was stopped on a street by a panhandler. He asked for a quarter so he “can on the Internet.” For this ingenuity he got a buck.

    We should encourage the capable.


  9. CPP: You might think that, but no. During business hours, even in summer, most doors are wide open. (Things may be different in sciency buildings with labs and equipment, but I don’t know. I have never been locked or blocked from opening any door on campus, and I have taught in the Engineering and Chemistry buildings.)

    Don’t forget, we’re a concealed carry state, and the State Supreme Court has just ruled that our concealed carry law applies to college campuses, no matter what the campuses prefer.

    I feel soooooo safe at work!


  10. Yeah, I’d really want to tell a potentially unstable person to turn himself in to the Dean’s office, or to ask him to wait till I called security. Espeically with the concealed carry law…

    I’d love to know what the Dean’s office planned to do with him…You think the admin staff really wants to handle this?


  11. sad I didn’t see this sooner, b/c not only does this happen @ pov u with some frequency, they target the Identity Studies wing (espec WS) b/c they consistently get $ from unsuspecting students, adjuncts, & Women’s Ctr staff despite circulated memos not to. Seems to me, the difference in who gives & who doesn’t (@ least in the aggregate) &/or the perception thereof would be an interesting study on gender socialization & its resilience


  12. That’s a great point, susurro, and one I hadn’t considered. I’m not privy to what’s going on in the business school at my uni, but my bet is that random scammers don’t bother.

    This is probably related to the relative underfunding of the liberal arts relative to other parts of the university. It’s actually plausible that students would need to engage in fundraising in our college, as opposed to other study programs in other colleges.

    For example, the German Club regularly has a coffee and bake sale set up outside the Dean’s Office. It’s nice if you want a cup of coffee and a muffin, but it’s probably not so nice for the German Club to rely on bake sales.

    (I never see the men’s football or basketball teams holding fundraisers like this, either.)


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