Working at a small school with deeply ingrained vocabulary and a student population of only a couple thousand, you get pretty used to the way email questions look and feel when they come from students. So this morning when I opened a message and it just felt off, somehow, I took a minute to do a little investigating. The email I’d received said:
Dear Ms. Jastram,
I am doing some research on colonial Latin American literature for my honors thesis and I came across a book that just came out this year and our library does not have it yet. The title is: __El discurso colonial en textos novohispanos: espacio, cuerpo y poder__ by Sergio Rivera-Ayala (Tamesis, 2009; ISBN:9781855661790) Is it possible to purchase it?
First of all, our seniors do “comps” not “honors theses.” Second, they tend to assume that we know them by their senior years (which we generally do), so the signature seemed odd. And finally, it’s very rare for students to request books here, just generally, unless we’ve already exhausted our InterLibrary Loan options.
The kicker came when the registrar confirmed that we have no such student enrolled here.
Apparently someone is hoping to drum up sales for this book by impersonating students. And here I thought those handwritten letters from authors were a bit much… This is another whole level of “a bit much.”