One Email, Much Outrage

How a seemingly simple message 
to students brought digital-age disaster for a Wisconsin professor

One Email, Much Outrage 2

Courtney Perry for The Chronicle

Rachel Slocum, an assistant professor of geography at the U. of Wisconsin at La Crosse, 
found herself at the center of a firestorm after sending a brief email to students.

Rachel Slocum’s problems began with an email she sent at the end of long day.

It was Tuesday, October 1, and the federal government had partially shut down as a result of a budget impasse. The U.S. Census Bureau and Education Department websites were out of commission, leaving the students in her introductory geography class without access to data for an assignment.

"Hi everyone," she wrote to the 18 students in the online course. "Some of