FARMINGTON — Police at the University of Maine at Farmington are seeking campus and community help in identifying the person or persons involved in a hoax email.

Police Chief Brock Caton posted the request on the campus police’s Facebook page Wednesday morning.

A hoax email was sent Monday evening to UMF students and staff saying university President Kathryn Foster had suffered a stroke and died at her home Monday afternoon.

Foster was attending a meeting of the University of Maine System board of trustees in Machias. She arrived home Monday night to learn of the event and sent students an email.

It said, in part, “I write to tell you that I am fine, though deeply saddened that our community has been subjected to this fraud.”

Fred Brittain, UMS executive director for information technology services, has also been actively involved in the investigation.

“Data systems at UMF have not been compromised in any way and remain completely secure,” he said in a statement Wednesday. “A new control has been implemented to prevent forged messages from reaching UMF’s student email lists.”

The email sent Monday was a forgery mechanism commonly used, he said.

The hoax, sent at 5:07 p.m. Monday, was listed as being sent by Robert Lively Jr., associate provost.

Forty minutes after the initial email was sent, Daniel P. Gunn, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, sent a campus-wide email to announce Foster’s well-being and attendance at the Machias meeting.

“We’re working closely with the college information technology department,” Caton said Wednesday morning. “We’re following up on every lead.”

Caton asked those on campus and those in the community to contact him at the Public Safety Office at 778-7400 with any information regarding the prank.

He is also working with the District Attorney to see whether a crime was committed. Caton said he was meeting with the DA on Wednesday afternoon to continue that discussion.

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