September 25, 2020

BREAKING: Capital’s Open Ceremony event to be Rescheduled after Zoom-bombing

UPDATED 5:33 PM: Article has been updated to include new information from Capital’s Director of Publications and Marketing, Denise Russell. The headline was changed to reflect that only the opening ceremony was postponed, and not the rest of Welcome Weekend.

Capital University’s virtual year officially kicks off with another Zoom-bombing incident.

Welcome Weekend was already slated to look a little different this year, as all events were planned to take place over Zoom. Thursday kicked things off with a virtual address featuring a prayer from university pastor Rev. Drew Tucker and remarks from Interim President David Kaufman.

First year students and their families attended the event, not knowing what to expect.

“I really wasn’t expecting a whole lot,” said Greg Paskvan, a first year Music Education major, over the phone. “It was the biggest Zoom meeting I have ever attended.”

Midway through President Kaufman’s address, the Zoom feed was taken over by a random Zoom user. According to a student witness, the user, simply named, “iPhone”, started using Zoom’s “screen share” feature to take over the call. The anonymous user proceeded to share pornographic images via share screen.

Shortly after, the anonymous “iPhone” user left the call, and a separate user started speaking. The yet to be identified user started yelling expletives.

Soon after this happened, everyone in the call was muted, and the call was promptly ended by the University, leaving students and parents alike in a state of confusion.

“I just feel bad for the people running it, I know they are trying their hardest to make it feel as close to the real thing as possible” said Shayla Trimmer, a first year student.

This isn’t the first time Capital University has suffered a Zoom-bombing incident. This past spring, a string of similar Zoom bombings occurred at other University events.

Denise Russell, Director of Publications and Marketing, was able to provide further information on the matter.

“Capital’s Information Technology staff has reached out to Zoom to see if they can help us track down what went wrong,” Russell said. “Zoom has escalated the case through their security team to pinpoint the problem as quickly as possible.”

At this time, the culprits have not been found.

When asked about how the university plans to prevent issues like this from occurring in the future, Russell responded with, “Student and Community Engagement is requiring student participants to use their Capital University log in to get Zoom links through Corq. Capital login credentials will [also] be required for faculty and staff to join Zoom meetings.”

Russell also stressed that it is important for students to not openly share links on social media. This helps to ensure that the Zoom meetings remain with an internal audience only. Future meetings will have all the participants muted starting off, and there will likely be a host that let’s people in manually.

“It was just a bad first experience,” said Trimmer. “But I know not all of it’s going to be like that.”

The rest of Welcome Weekend events will continue as planned.

  • Zach Ferenchak is a current Senior studying Emerging Media with an emphasis in PR. Along with serving as managing editor for The Chimes, Zach is heavily involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America, where he serves as the organization's incoming National Vice President of Brand Engagement. He is an avid communicator who hopes to one day elevate brands and causes through effective storytelling.

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