After an ongoing investigation, Jill Bowling admitted on Tuesday to being the infamous and widely-hated “Fake David Pickering.”
In the early hours of the morning on Feb. 24, Olivet Nazarene University students received an e-mail from David Pickering announcing the cancellation of the school day due to weather conditions, only to receive another e-mail from Pickering shortly after to announce that school was indeed in session and that the first e-mail was from an imposter.
Later that evening, students received another e-mail from Pickering. “As you now know, today there are two David Pickerings on the ONU campus,” Pickering said in his e-mail. “The ‘real’ David Pickering (assuming this email is actually coming from me!) and the ‘fake’ David Pickering.” Pickering explained in the e-mail that the imposter “used a ‘spoof’ website to send a note to undergraduate students. They used the text from an e-mail from another school closing in the past, and sent that, giving the impression that we were going to be closed today.”
It has now been confirmed that Jill Bowling, wife of Olivet Nazarene University President Dr. John Bowling, was indeed, the “fake” David Pickering. Jill admitted that Olivet was overdue for a snow day, thus leading her to forge the e-mail to spend a day off with her husband and revel in the nostalgia of a snow day.
Jill explained the sentimental value she holds in snow days.
“I have loved snow days since grade school,” she said. “Growing up in Ohio, we usually had several each winter… I was a freshman at Olivet for the snow day of all snow days. Probably the first snow day in ONU’s history.
“It was January of 1967. Olivet was always known for never cancelling classes. Why? Everyone lived in a residence hall on campus – no apartments. Roads might be impassible but we could all get to class and Ludwig; all [professors] lived close by. No reason to close!
“The evening before that snow day in ‘67, it began pouring snow and the wind quickly picked up. This was before Doppler radar and all the weather-predicting technology now available. The entire Chicago area was caught off-guard.” Jill said the students were snowed in their dorms that day.
Jill also mentioned an incident on campus last year when classes were cancelled. “Classes were cancelled for the next day on the evening before,” she recalled. “It was the evening of the Super Bowl. Dr. Bowling and I were with some students watching the game. When the ‘snow day tomorrow’ e-mail ‘hit’ the cell phones there was so much excitement in the room; it was fun to experience that moment with students. The next day a bunch of guys from The Oakes built a huge snowman in our yard – it will be their snow day to talk about for years to come.”
“Remembering all this fun and excitement for students is what led me to think about recreating it by sending out a fake ‘classes cancelled’ e-mail. A little computer hacking later and it was done,” Jill said with little sign of remorse. “Unfortunately, it was found out and the real David Pickering was able to overturn my secret attempt to spread joy throughout the Olivet campus,” she added.
Dr. Bowling did not expect his wife to be behind the false alarm snow day whatsoever.
“I was shocked when I first realized that there was a ‘fake’ David Pickering who had cancelled classes,” Bowling said. “I wondered, ‘What else has this person done?’ I authorized a full scale investigation and couldn’t believe my ears when I was told, ‘The fake message came from a computer at your house.’ ‘Impossible,’ I thought. But then I remembered Jill asking me over and over if I thought there would be a snow day. I kept telling her no, but she kept pushing the idea. I finally said, ‘The decision is up to David Pickering.’ ‘That’s all I need to know,’ she replied. The rest is history,” he said.
Following the discovery of the investigation, Bowling decided to disconnect Wi-Fi connection in their home for the time-being, until Jill can be trusted to not tamper with the e-mail again.
—Taylor Provost, News Editor