Fox News and Wesleyan reportedly now have something in common: Sarah Palin—or so quipped an April 1 e-mail from the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA). Although the e-mail was intended to be a simple April Fool’s joke, it incited some apparently serious responses after it appeared in a post titled “Sarah Palin at Wesleyan?” on The Middletown Eye, a local news blog.
“Our new 2010 Commencement Speaker was recently selected and is none other than New York Times bestselling author and 2008 VP nominee Sarah Palin,” the e-mail read. “Like our friends in Alaska, we will now be able to enjoy the wit and candor of Sarah. You betcha!”
The Middletown Eye poster who continued the rumor was none other than Associate Professor of Biology and Neurobiology and Behavior Stephen Devoto, who said that he posted the entry as a joke after hearing about the e-mail from students.
“I thought it was a hilarious April Fool’s spoof,” Devoto said. “I thought it was just funny and I didn’t expect anyone else to fall for it, but you never know.”
Most of the comments on the Middletown Eye blog post pointed to the date of the post as proof of its fallacy, while some expressed wary disbelief.
“I hope this is a joke as Wesleyan is far too intelligent to have Sarah Palin step foot on their campus!!!” wrote an anonymous poster.
The premise of the e-mail was that scheduled Commencement Speaker Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper ’74 had new commitments that conflicted with the date and prevented him from attending.
“We [the WSA] figured that a lot of people would believe it for a couple of minutes but then realize that it was an April Fool’s joke,” wrote WSA Coordinator Meherazade Sumariwalla ’12 in an e-mail to The Argus.
After the e-mail was sent, the WSA received about 20 responses within the first hour and a few later on.
“Half believed it, were really excited, or wanted to know if it was true,” Sumariwalla wrote. “The other half just acknowledged that it was a joke.”