As Game nears, Cantabs prepare for Eli pranks

Harvard students’ jumpiness lately may have less to do with double-shot espressos and more to do with their fear that Yale may again successfully dupe Cantabs with a Game-related prank.

A week before the Nov. 18 Harvard-Yale game, e-mail messages instructing Harvard students to look out for a Yale-orchestrated prank under the guise of JetBlue Airways zipped around Harvard’s residential houses on Wednesday. Several students sent out e-mails warning that Yalies were planning to record Harvard students saying “Go Blue” today by posing as representatives of the JetBlue airline and offering a fake promotion.

But their concerns were unwarranted, as the event in question is legitimate and not planned by Yale students, a JetBlue campus representative said. The promotion will offer free — and real — plane tickets today to select Harvard students who wear blue t-shirts and respond to the question “Go What?” with the answer “Go Blue,” said Taylor Owings, a Harvard junior and the campus representative for JetBlue.

One warning e-mail sent to the members of Quincy House and Kirkland House instructed Harvard students to say “Yale sucks” if anyone stops them and asks “Go What?” The e-mail tells students not to “let them embarass [sic] us like they did with the cards two years ago!!”

Owings said JetBlue organized a national Blue Day promotion on college campuses across the country in order to attract students who travel frequently between school and home. She said she thinks some Harvard students’ fears that the event is a Yale prank is because of the excitement surrounding The Game.

“I think that right now is obviously a time of heightened awareness about the Harvard-Yale rivalry, and there are certain characteristics of the promotion that might have seemed suspicious,” she said.

In 2004, Yale students disguised as members of the “Harvard Pep Squad” snuck into the Harvard section of Ohiri Field and distributed pieces of red and white construction paper to spectators. At the pranksters’ signal, fans raised their posters, unknowingly spelling out the words “We Suck.”

But Kelly Bit ’07 — who helped orchestrate the 2004 prank — said she thinks some Harvard students are overly afraid of being fooled again. Bit said she was unaware of the JetBlue promotion.

“It’s a little pathetic,” Bit said. “I don’t know if Harvard students would actually believe that we would use this kind of prank to fool them a week or two in advance.”

David Chernicoff ’07, a member of the improvisational comedy group The Ex!t Players, said although he too was unaware of the JetBlue promotion, he thinks the idea of exploiting the promotion to play a joke could be humorous.

“I think if that were a prank, it would be a pretty good prank,” Chernicoff said. “It’s funny that the ‘We Suck’ thing is still so fresh in their minds and that Yale’s reputation for pranking prowess precedes it to such a degree that they’re scared of us before we even arrive.”

But some Harvard students said they think most are paying little attention to the supposed prank.

Harvard junior Diana Link said she received several e-mails warning her not to respond to JetBlue representatives if they approach her, but she said she is not worrying about the possible prank because she has more important things on her mind.

Freshman Daniel Suo said he has not given the ploy much thought because he thinks that even if Yalies pulled it off, it would be irrelevant to The Game and next weekend’s festivities.

“People know about it, but they’re not worried about it,” Suo said. “The general consensus is, if anyone asks you, just be wary.”

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