Allegations Cloud Harvard Republican Club Race

Michael W. McLean ’12 won an uncontested race for the Harvard Republican Club presidency last night after Luis A. Martinez ’12 pulled out of the contest while denying accusations that he forged an e-mail from the consulting firm McKinsey & Company to Harvard students.

Martinez said that McLean confronted him in Winthrop Dining Hall on Monday night, alleging that he was responsible for sending the e-mail (see here for text). The message, which The Crimson obtained yesterday, invited recipients—including several members of the HRC—to a selective McKinsey recruiting event at MIT, which was to take place at the same time as the HRC elections last night.

McLean mentioned Internet Protocol addresses, which can serve as online identifiers, as evidence of Martinez’s involvement, according to Martinez.

Martinez denied the charges in an interview with The Crimson and said that he dropped out of the race following his encounter with McLean to avoid what he perceived to be an increasingly negative campaign.

“There are definitely other elements, but quite frankly this is the most recent and most damning accusation,” Martinez said of the e-mail allegations. “This isn’t necessarily the kind of thing I want to involve myself with.”

McLean and other members of the HRC declined to comment on the allegations, pointing to an ongoing disciplinary inquiry by the College that was initiated when McLean brought the concern about the McKinsey e-mail to the administration. McLean did say that he disagreed with Martinez’s claim that the campaigning had become negative.

Both the Secretary of the Administrative Board John “Jay” L. Ellison and FAS IT have declined to comment on the case.

Several Harvard undergraduates, including several members of the HRC, received an e-mail from alexjmichaelson@gmail.com on Saturday night, inviting them to a “private reception” at MIT on Thursday at 8 p.m. The message was signed “Alex J. Michaelson, McKinsey & Company.”

The e-mail also mentioned the opportunity to sign up for “one of 25 exclusive fast-track interview slots, available only to those who attend our event.”

McKinsey spokeswoman Yolande Daeninck confirmed that an e-mail from an individual purporting to be a McKinsey representative was sent to Harvard undergraduates, inviting them to an exclusive recruiting event at MIT.

“As soon as we found out about it, we immediately worked closely with the Office of Career Services to contact the students who had received the e-mail and try to identify the sender,” Daeninck wrote in an e-mail statement.

On Monday, Deb Carroll, OCS’ assistant director of On-Campus Interview & Employer Relations Office, sent an e-mail to students registered for OCS’ on-campus recruiting alerting them of the fraudulent McKinsey e-mail.

While there was a recruiting event at MIT yesterday, it was a general recruiting session for MIT students, Carroll wrote.

“We didn’t want students to be confused or go somewhere where a program wasn’t happening,” said Robin Mount, the director of the Office of Career, Research, and International Opportunities, an umbrella organization encompassing OCS. Mount declined to comment further on the e-mail.

IP addresses, which Martinez said were cited as evidence against him, can be used to identify specific computers from which an e-mail message originated, according to Jeremy S. Cushman ’12, a board member of the Harvard Computing Society.

But Cushman added that IP addresses are not “conclusive” in identifying a specific sender. For example, messages sent by two different people might show the same IP address if they used the same computer. In addition, messages sent from the Gmail web client usually show the IP address of the website’s servers rather than the unique IP address of the sender, he wrote.

—Staff writer Melody Y. Hu can be reached at melodyhu@fas.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Eric P. Newcomer can be reached at newcomer@fas.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Monika L.S. Robbins can be reached at mrobbins@college.harvard.edu.

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