"Stanford Impostor"

I’ve gotten a zillion emails about it by now, but it was recently found that a young woman had been living for a year in Stanford dorms claiming to be a freshman, when in fact she was not a student of any sort at all. This seems to have engendered much discussion in the Stanford community, e.g. here. (The LA Times has a decent piece).

I mostly think the story is just sad, but a few thoughts:

  • The security scare angle is a bit ridiculous, as is the blame game being played.
  • I suspect the Stanford community is naive and high-strung about these things. My friends who went to state schools say things like this happen all the time. Besides, staffs in co-ops are sometimes happy to let vagrants hang out. The motivations for and mechanics of her deception are clearly the important part of this story (e.g. how did she live with herself?)
  • Her first two quarters were in Kimball, then then her last quarter was in Okada. I’m surprised the Kimball staff weren’t enough in-touch with their residents to know a pair of them were having someone else stay in their room for months, and that this person was often sleeping in the lounge. It’s pretty standard for Stanford ResEd RA’s to have at least that much knowledge. (See, the bubble usually works!)
  • The comments on the Daily article (this one or this earlier one) are disturbing in how quickly things spin into classism and accusations of classism, e.g. Berkeley vs. Stanford, etc.

Update 5/29: This editorial is funny and great.

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