Professors targeted in printer hijacking

Phillips Hall, where the printer incidents occurred. Photo: Department of religion.
Phillips Hall, where the printer incidents occurred. Photo: Department of religion.

Someone accessing a faculty printer in Phillips Hall changed its settings so three names in the machine’s address book were altered to vulgar and offensive statements. The attack was discovered March 7.

The three targeted professors were included: Paul E. Kostyu, associate professor of journalism, Susan Gunasti, assistant professor of religion and another professor who wished not to be identified.  The language used against each was homophobic in nature.

“There is a certain level of humanity that people need to be aware of, and I think the person who did this needs to understand the impact and gravity of their actions,” Provost Chuck Stinemetz said. “When something like this happens, whether it’s to our entire faculty or only just one, it’s just as important. I know Public Safety has a case open on this, and I have full confidence that they do their jobs to do everything they can.”

Gunasti said she believes that everyone is allowed to hold their own opinions, but the actions in this circumstance are not to be taken lightly.

“The brazen manner of expressing those thoughts is what scares me,” Gunasti said. “I consider OWU an open community, so to think that someone would do this threw me off and made me re-think the campus culture a little bit.”

Due to the ongoing status of the investigation, Public Safety declined to comment.

Assisting PS in the investigation is Information Services, who responded to the situation and reset the printer’s settings.

According to Brian Rellinger, executive director of Information Technology, the settings on the printer were restored to their original status within hours.

“This could have happened on or off campus, or (on) the printer itself,” he said. “We feel it was unlikely that it was done at the device and that leads us to believe someone with enough technical knowledge was able to conduct the changes remotely.”

Both Stinemetz and Rellinger said they are evaluating campus security measures, with Rellinger adding that two changes are being implemented, which will make repeating a similar act much more difficult.

“When I worked as a security guard, an officer once said to me ‘we spend 10 percent of our time trying to deter people from doing things, but criminals spend 90 percent of their time trying to figure out how to do it,’” Stinemetz said.

“Unfortunately, these issues do happen from time to time,” Rellinger said. “However, we work closely with Public Safety to reduce vulnerabilities and resolve problems.”

Gunasti said she hopes this incident will lead to reflection among the campus community.  Stinemetz agreed, and said he believes this is a rare occurrence, one not reflective of the OWU community.

“I hope that the person who did this will come to realize the wrongness of their actions, and will feel guilty about the damage they have caused,” he said.

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