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Seniors Snap Up Tickets

By Carol P. Choy, Contributing Writer

It isn’t often that Boston Red Sox fans grumble about more than their dislike for the New York Yankees.

But some Harvard seniors who root for the home team are directing their dismay at a different source this week: the Senior Class Committee.

As part of this spring’s senior activities, the committee offered a chance for students to win tickets to a Red Sox-Yankees baseball game, promising tickets to the first 200 seniors to e-mail a Yahoo account starting at 8 p.m. Sunday night.

But in e-mails to House open lists and committee representatives, several students allege that high demand from more than 1,000 seniors prompted some to devise dishonest methods to increase their odds of winning tickets.

By changing the clock settings on their computer to make their e-mails appear as if they were sent soon after 8 p.m., some students may have duped the committee, the e-mails alleged.

“It just seems like coordinated action on this scale has never been achieved by any other initiative I’ve ever seen,” Patrick M.R. Dolan ’03 wrote in an e-mail to the Leverett House open list. “I think it’s sketchy.”

Some noted they sent e-mails as early as 8:01 p.m. and still did not receive tickets.

Jennifer M. Paniza ’03 said though she and her seven blockmates in Leverett sent their e-mails “no more than five seconds apart,” synchronizing their account clocks before e-mailing, only four of them successfully nabbed tickets.

Lowell House Representative Brian J. Hayes ’03 said that as a result of the complaints, the committee intends to investigate the matter.

Though he said he could not speak for the entire committee, Hayes said that students who manipulated the system would be punished.

“I think if we found evidence that somebody had clearly e-mailed 6 p.m. on Sunday and somehow manufactured their time stamps, we would ask them to give up their ticket,” he said.

First Class Marshal Krishnan N. Subrahmanian ’03 said the e-mail system was the “fairest process we could think of” and called the possible manipulation of the system by some ticketholders “unfortunate.”

“I don’t know what we could’ve done to prevent that,” Subrahmanian said.

The committee was trying to avoid criticisms of preferential treatment that arose last year after committee members personally distributed a set number of tickets within each House, he said.

“We thought this system would be more random,” said Adams House representative Katarina A. Colic ’03. “You don’t plan the system around those who might be trying to cheat it.”

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