City College student harassed during ‘Zoom bomb’ speaks out

Trevor West Morgan, Staff Writer

In an April 3 article regarding the ‘Zoom Bomb’ of a City College film studies class, The Channels briefly described an incident of student Tessa Gilbert being harassed by the hackers and other students. 

Gilbert was subjected to derogatory comments and trolling during the hack, which included one student obtaining and sharing her Snapchat username to everyone still in the chat. 

The Channels cannot confirm if the student was involved in the incident or if they just took the opportunity to harass Gilbert. 

At the time the April 3 article was written, The Channels chose to keep both students anonymous, but Gilbert has since given The Channels permission to use her name and account of events. 

I didn’t realize what was going on at first,” said Gilbert. “But I thought it was a waste of time and student’s money for somebody to do that.”

Gilbert remained in the chat to see if Professor Roger Durling would return. 

 “I stayed in the chat because I thought the professor would come back or that he was doing something to fix it, but after about 10 minutes I left after reading his email.”

Durling eventually sent an email telling students that the conference was cancelled. 

At one point, many users and the aforementioned student asked her for explicit content. Gilbert did not seem to be shaken up by this. 

“It didn’t really phase me, overall I thought the people asking were thirsty and I was amused,” Gilbert said. She goes on to call it immature but said that “It wasn’t just mine that was asked [for].”

Gilbert did become uncomfortable when her Snapchat username was found, and she was bombarded with friend requests from strangers. 

“They found my social media in seconds and added me, some people I didn’t even know,” she said. “But I don’t think those guys were the hackers.”

After City College officials confirmed that the incident had been reported to the FBI, The Channels reached out to City College’s Superintendent-President Dr. Utpal Goswami for comment. 

“We have turned this over to the FBI. We have not heard back from them,” said Goswami “We are not sure who the perpetrators are…we have the IP addresses. Tracing IP requires court order and is done by law enforcement, not us.”

Goswami said the FBI would probably give the incident lower priority since ‘hacking’ was not technically involved because “The perpetrators entered an open meeting.”

In a statement made on the day of the incident Goswami said, “We must be resolute in our shared commitment to stand against hate and bigotry. We will make every effort to find the perpetrator(s) and bring them to justice.”