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She Reported Her PhD Advisor To Her University For Pulling A Cruel “Prank” And Convincing Her That She’d Caused A Massive Data Leak

Anton - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

This 25-year-old woman is a computer science PhD student who has participated in the program for three years. Until recently, she had a wonderful, professional relationship with her PhD advisor. Unfortunately, a situation with him horrified her so much that she reported him to the university.

“My project involved developing complex algorithms for data analysis, which requires substantial computational resources. My advisor has been supportive, providing access to the university’s high-performance computing cluster to run my experiments,” she said.

A few weeks ago, her advisor requested a meeting to discuss updates on her project, which they regularly do. At the meeting, her advisor explained that there was a huge problem with the computing cluster.

“He told me my latest set of experiments had caused a significant data breach. He explained that because of the breach, personal data from thousands of university staff and students were compromised,” she explained.

She was incredibly upset, and her advisor lectured her and claimed she’d been “negligent.” He said she’d compromised the university and claimed she could face legal trouble. While her advisor spoke, she cried because she thought he was telling the truth.

It was devastating that she’d accidentally caused a huge breach of staff members’ and students’ data. She was understandably terrified that her career was destroyed and that she could be in legal trouble.

“After about an hour of discussing the ramifications and watching me become increasingly distressed, he finally revealed that it was all a ‘joke,'” she shared.

While her advisor laughed, he told her it was a prank to see how she dealt with a stressful situation and “pressure.” She was understandably shocked that her advisor thought it was humorous to lie to her about something so scary.

Once she left his office, she was embarrassed and felt like her advisor had betrayed her trust. She processed the situation for a day before reporting the issue to her university’s ethics board. In her complaint, she said that her advisor’s behavior was “cruel” and “unprofessional.”

Anton – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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