Law Schools

'Law student' attacks classmate snacks; email probe and rally for 'pineapple justice' result

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At a top Canadian law school, an anonymous email attack on students’ in-class snacks on Wednesday has created an uproar.

By lunchtime Thursday, a “Pineapple Appreciation Day” event was apparently underway, the National Post reported. Organizers say on their Facebook page that the eat-in at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School is intended to promote “pineapple justice” for the delicious fruit, which, contrary to the emailer’s claim, is “NOT CRUNCHY.”

Meanwhile, the administration of the Toronto law school sent around an email of their own, promising to investigate complaints that the spoofed email violated policies about civility and against “constructing and transmitting an email message so that it appears to be from someone else.”

What caused all the commotion? In a lengthy email sent Wednesday (Jezebel provides a copy), an apparent classmate scolded 72 students taking an Administrative Law class about their eating habits and food selection.

The writer characterizes the targets of the email as “fundamentally challenged” individuals suffering from “a complete lack of etiquette and common courtesy as well as from peculiar eating disorders,” then criticizes them for eating in class and demands that those forced to do so because they are unable to manage their time properly refrain from consuming certain foods. They include tuna and deli sandwiches (“they stink up the entire room”); apples, pineapples “and other crunchy fruit”; and chips (not only noisy but unhealthy).

James Stribopoulos, an associate dean who sent the email to the law school community promising an investigation, tells the ABA Journal that it was sent from a spoofed account in the Czech Republic, using the name of someone who isn’t a student.

The email was designed to look like it came from a student account, and law school administrators are trying to identify the sender, he said. If they do, assuming it was a law student, a confidential investigation would be pursued. School policies impose a duty of civility on students and prohibit sending mass emails that mask the sender’s identity, he explained, describing the snack-attack email as “a troubling kind of behavior.”

While there currently is no proof the sender of the email is an Osgoode Hall law student, the subject matter seems an unlikely choice for someone who is not a law student there.

An Above the Law post provides a screenshot of the Facebook page promoting the pineapple event and the text of the administration’s email response.

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