New Harvard President Announced. Sort Of.

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Two E-mail messages sent to Harvard students Saturday night announcing the Presidential Search Committee's choice for a new leader would have been huge news, had they been real. The first E-mail declared that Lawrence H. Summers, who resigned last February, would be "reinstate[d] . . . as Harvard's once and future president." A follow-up retracted the decision and declared Law School Dean Elena Kagan the committee's choice instead. But neither message is accurate--at least according to a Crimson report this morning, as well as the absence of any banner-headline news releases on the university's public affairs website.

Who created the confusion? A clue: One of the E-mail messages directed students irked by the decision to the cellphone of William Marra, the former Crimson president. "The deadline to [call] is tonight, February 3, at midnight," the E-mail urged. That is a tactic often used by the Harvard Lampoon, a humor magazine with a long-running beef against the Crimson. In a story deeming the prank "lame," Marra said he received only about 50 phone calls as a result.