The next day, I got an email from my wife saying she’d heard from her mother-in-law.
She was shocked.
“She’s got a letter saying that she was going to lose her job,” she said.
My daughter-in, also a student at the University of California, was in a similar position.
She had received an email that morning from a friend of hers, telling her that a tweet from her personal account was being deleted.
“I was so upset, I just thought, Why is this happening?
And she said, I have to get a lawyer,” she told me.
The tweet was not a malicious tweet, she said—she was referring to an earlier tweet from a college friend, which was not malicious.
The friend was later removed from the account, and no longer works there.
This happened more than a week later.
A few days after that, a message on my phone went out.
It was from my daughter- in-law, who had just started work.
The sender had asked if she could send her a tweet of her own.
The message included the email that my daughter had received the day before, and included the name of her mother, who was a student in another college.
“This is my mother- in the process of going through a breakup, and I can’t send her any messages because she is now fired,” the sender wrote.
The letter read: I’m sorry for the inconvenience and the hurt and the stress I’ve been feeling all day.
I’m also sorry for your feelings and the pain I’ve caused you.
I understand that this has been very hard for you.
You need to understand that I don’t know why your mother- was fired, but I’m here to help.
You are my sister, and we are not going anywhere.
I will never forgive you for what you have done to me.
My wife, who works as a secretary in the tech industry, got a similar email, this time from her father.
This time the sender, an acquaintance of her dad’s, sent her a text message: I just got an anonymous email, and it said, “I’ve had a letter from the school saying that my dad is going to be fired.”
This time my father-inlaw didn’t get his job back; instead, he got a notice from his employer saying he was fired.
A month later, my daughter’s father- in a different company got another anonymous email.
This one, however, said something about the firing being due to “personal problems.”
The letter said: I hope you understand that our company is going through hard times and I’m sure it has affected you personally.
I don.t know why my father has been fired, and that is why I’m asking you to understand why we are sending you this letter.
My mother- the one who started this letter in the first place, said she was “really shocked” by the email.
“My father is not a person that would do something like that,” she added.
She asked me to call the company’s HR department, but she couldn’t because it was closed.
She tried to contact the university to ask them to investigate.
A representative from the university told her that she would have to come to campus and talk to her husband, and then would have no option but to go to court.
“It’s just so devastating,” she says.
“That’s just heartbreaking.”
The University of North Carolina is now investigating and is expected to issue a formal apology to the university community.
Meanwhile, my wife has received several more emails from anonymous friends asking her to be nice to them, but not to send them tweets or text messages.
They have not responded.
“In my mind, I’m still the same person,” she tells me.
“But I’ve learned that if I don, I might not be the same,” she continues.
I want to be the one to understand it.
“If I can find out why this happened, then I might be able to make sense of it,” she concludes.