Russia hacks SGA executive elections

By VLAD | April 1, 2018

COURTESY OF THE KREMLIN A foreign exchange student surveys his newly conquered territory.

APRIL FOOL’S: This article was published as part of The News-Letter’s annual April Fool’s edition, an attempt at adding some humor to a newspaper that is normally very serious about its reporting.

The Committee on Student Elections (CSE) received evidence on Tuesday suggesting that the Russian government has made attempts to hack the upcoming Student Government Association (SGA) executive board elections.

CSE has launched an investigation into the extent to which the Russian government has been able to influence the SGA elections. The subcommittee investigating Russian interference in these elections is headed by sophomore Jamie Comei, and it has announced plans to start gathering its own untainted data and surveying the student body. 

Comei discussed some of the reasons why the Russian government chose to hack the SGA elections.

“There are so many things Hopkins has done that could have convinced Russia to interfere,” she said. “But the last straw I think was the fact that the the Russian language program was cut last semester.”

In September 2017, Hopkins announced the closure of the joint Goucher College-Johns Hopkins University Cooperative Program in Russian Language and Literature founded in 1970.

Junior Nadia Veselnitskaya, who was enrolled in the program, points to the termination of this program as a reason the Russian government might be taking vengeance on the Hopkins community.

“I mean the administration says they ended it because of funding but we all know that’s not really true,” Poutine said. “They were afraid that teaching students Russian would turn them into communists and/or Putin-lovers.”

By manipulating Facebook analytics, particularly likes on posts on the Hopkins Memes for My Parents’ Lost Hopes and Dreams page, the Russian government is attempting to manipulate students into voting for the “Unraveling the Future” ticket, led by junior Donnie Trumbo, who is running for executive president.

Current SGA Executive Treasurer Jerod Cashner expressed concerns about the security of the SGA budget.

“We already have so much trouble keeping track of the $20,000 Hopkins gives us,” he said. “With this scandal, it’s impossible to know how much money we actually lost and how much money was stolen by the Russian government hacking our Venmo accounts.”

He added that if the Russian government did indeed want to retaliate against the Hopkins administration, they shouldn’t have chosen SGA as a means to that end.

“It’s just not fair. The administration were the ones who ended the Russian language program, not us,” Cashner said. “If Russia really wanted to control this school, why didn’t they just hack ISIS — wait sorry I mean SIS — instead.”

SGA Advisor and Director of Student Leadership and Involvement Christine Fracke agreed with Cashner.

“SGA doesn’t actually have any influence on Hopkins policy. We claim it does, but let’s be real, they don’t,” Fracke said. “It was kind of a stupid move on the Russian government’s part. I expected them to be a lot smarter than that.”

Senior Class Senator Jade Cynicus, who announced her resignation from SGA yesterday, addressed the Russian interference.

“I’m tired of this shit, let Russia do what it wants,” she said.

SGA will be holding make-up elections, which Cashner hopes stay free of Russian intervention.

According to Director of Campus Security Kristen Throwberry, this incident only shows that Hopkins needs to increase its focus on cybersecurity.

“We’re trying to introduce our own private police force, but my question is why stop there? We should handpick 15-20 police officers who would not only patrol the neighborhood but also have access to students’ computers and internet searches,” she said. “People keep saying we’re doing this to keep parents happy, but this is for the students, I promise. We won’t be divulging the information we collect to their parents at all.”

Comei ddressed CSE’s investigation and the challenges that they anticipate.

“I just really hope we can do a good job with this investigation — not that there’s anything we can do if the Russians hack our investigation but fingers crossed they don’t,” Comei said. “It would be so nice of them not to.”

This is a developing story. It will be updated with new information from the CSE

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