Hackers target UTK for hassling student over name-guess

The University of Tennessee allegedly had its website hacked after announcing that it would pursue a sexual harassment investigation against a student for guessing an instructor’s name incorrectly.

According to The Knoxville News-Sentinel, the disclosure prompted the Anonymous hacking collective to allegedly shut down the school’s website, though UT denies experiencing any disruptions.

Earlier this month, student Keaton Wahlbon was accused of sexual harassment by a professor when he inaccurately guessed her name on an exam in response to the question, “What is your lab instructor’s name? (If you don’t remember make something good up).”

[RELATED: UT prof claims ‘inappropriate’ name guess is sexual harassment]

Wahlbon, apparently not remembering the teaching assistant’s name, followed the advice and put down “Sarah Jackson” as his answer, only to be informed later that the name is shared by a nude lingerie model.

Wahlbon received a grade of “zero” on his assignment even after explaining that he had merely chosen what he thought would be a generic female name, and that a Google search for the name turned up no extraordinary results.

His professor, though, dismissed his defense, saying “the result is that you gave the name Sarah Jackson,” and claiming that such a result “meets the Title IX definition of sexual harassment.”

Now, the school has officially opened up an investigation into the matter after several outlets reported on the incident.

“The university is aware of the issue," Spokesperson Karen Simsen told the News-Sentinel. "Our Office of Equity and Diversity is looking into the matter, as they are required to consider all complaints brought to them by a member of our campus community."

Simsen added that it will likely be up to a week before the school can reach on a decision on the case, since most faculty and staff are on fall break.

[RELATED: Sexual harassment trainings don’t work, Feds admit]

Meanwhile, a Twitter account by the name of “@UTKFree,” which is reportedly associated with the hacker collective Anonymous, is claiming responsibility for temporarily disabling UT’s official website, and vowing to do sot again, to protest the “discrimination of Keaton Wahlbon.”

Simsen, however, claims that the website has not experienced any disruptions, despite the group’s repeated boasts to that effect.

Campus Reform reached out to the university for further comment on the matter, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AutumnDawnPrice