Dana Rood was the Associate Director of the Office of Academic Computing (OAC). It was the week before the start of theFall semester, and they were in the first blush of the hectic beginning of the term. Late Friday morning on September 20th he began hearing complaints from students about harassing email they had received. The first person he heard from was Elizabeth Doan, a female, Asian student who had been working in the lab down the hall from him and had received a message with the subject line: "Fuck You Asian Shit." She was accompanied by Jason Lin, who had also received the email. Jason had used the headers of the email to track the first message down to a particular computer, but when he went to see who was at that computer, it was unoccupied.
When the second message was sent, Jason again tracked it down, and the OAC looked for who was using the computer from which the second email had come. He and Elizabeth were now asking Dana what the next step should be.
The email headers indicated that the machine from which the first email was sent was labmac3, located in EG1122. The machine that sent the second message was pmac13, located in EG1140. He checked the login files to see who was logged into those machines:
rmachado pts/73 labmac3.acs.uci.edu Fri Sep 20 10:26 10:56
rmachado pts/29 pmac13.acs.uci.edu Fri Sep 20 11:10 11:47
The file indicated that Richard Machado was logged into each machine at the time the emails were sent.
At this point, Dana decided he had enough evidence to take some action. He contacted Allen Schiano, the core services manager in charge of labs, and the two of them walked down to EG 1140. They asked Mr. Machado for some identification, and he produced a student ID with his name on it. They then told him they suspected he was violating the computer use policy. He denied that this was the case. They said they would need to ask him to leave the lab and then asked him for a telephone number. Mr. Machado gave them a number (it later turned out to be false) and then left the lab at their direction.
Dana then locked Mr. Machado's account so that he could not access it. Because they had been worried about theft from the computer labs, the OAC had recently installed surveillance cameras in all the labs. Getting the video from the cameras would take a little while. Since they had dealt with the immediate problem and there were other things on his agenda, Dana decided to wait until later to resolve the rest of the case.
On Saturday, Dana read some samples of the offending email that had been forwarded to him. It was then that he began to realize that there might be more to this case than a simple violation of the email policy. The email had been sent to 59 people with Asian names. One of the lines in the email referred to the sender's intention to "kill every one of you personally." This certainly looked serious enough to bring in the Dean of Students' Office, and perhaps the University or even the Municipal Police. He still didn't have the surveillance videotapes that would place Mr. Machado at the correct computer when the email was sent, and he wouldn't get that video until later that week. But the matter of death threats seemed urgent enough to require immediate action.