A rumor that SALP adviser Natalee Webb resigned Friday supposedly to take a job at the University of Washington turned out to be an April Fools’ joke propagated by Webb and SALP Director Tonantzin Oceguera, according to Webb.
"I plan to continue on as the entangler of ASPSU," Webb said.
Webb said that while she never announced that she was resigning, on April 1 she and Oceguera made up the story that Webb had gotten a job at the University of Washington and would leave Portland State the following Monday. Signs placed on Webb’s door read "Congratulations on your new job!" and "Bye Natalee! We will miss you!"
News of Webb’s resignation came after controversy last week when she advised several student senators by e-mail to resign from their positions because they did not meet PSU grade requirements. Many recipients were angry, calling the e-mails inaccurate and misleading.
After a discussion with student leaders about the wording of the e-mails, Webb sent out a second e-mail that discussed what alternative options were available to the senators.
Interim Dean of Students Dan Fortmiller confirmed Friday afternoon that any announcement that Webb was leaving was a joke.
A joke that was not funny, according to some students.
Since the firing of their group adviser Carol Martin last December, the subject of advising is a stressful one, OSPIRG members Courtney Morse and Lauren Josi said.
"Our status of having an adviser is always up in the air and confusing," said Josi, who was OSPIRG coordinator during Webb’s prank, but resigned from her position Sunday. After hearing that Webb had resigned, Josi went to her office to find out. "I specifically said, ‘Is this an April Fools’ joke?’ and she said no. To have her lie to me was extremely irritating."
"That’s not the relationship I want with my advisers," Morse said.
Webb said that she revealed the truth to students who were upset about the rumor. April Fools’ jokes are a family tradition, she said, and considers the prank to be in good humor.
"I wouldn’t play this as a joke on Tonantzin or people in the office. It was me having fun with students," Webb said. "I love – not making people stress – but jokes. I love humor. In this position, if you don’t have humor, you won’t last very long."
When asked if the prank was appropriate, Oceguera said, "You’d have to talk to Natalee about that."
Vice Provost for Student Affairs Doug Samuels, who oversees the SALP offices, was unavailable for comment as press time. Samuels has been attending an out-of-state conference since Friday and it is not known if he is aware of the Webb incident.
Webb said she has e-mailed all of the groups she advises to let them know about the prank.
Numerous students advised by Webb confirmed that they had in fact received an e-mail letting them in on the joke.
Molly Woon, president of the College Democrats, who was traveling from a conference in Washington, D.C., said yesterday that she had heard of Webb’s resignation but never received an e-mail informing her that it was a joke.
"I haven’t received anything from Natalee, so I don’t know what’s going on or who has these e-mails," Woon said. "Generally I get info from her because she is my advisor, so I’m a little confused."