Matthew Weaver, a California State University San Marcos student, editor of The Koala and Associated Students Inc. presidential candidate, was arrested on March 15 for allegedly stealing some 700 usernames and passwords to alter the results of the ASI election, which was to end the same day as his arrest. The March election was called off and rescheduled for the end of May, just before final exams.
Weaver stole the log-in information with a device used to store keystrokes — much like those used at gas pumps to steal credit card information — which he allegedly attached to school computers days prior to the closing of the election. Campus officials were alerted of suspicious activity on school computers and found Weaver in the library with the device.
The CSU system has a zero-tolerance policy for plagiarism and cheating in regards to exams and schoolwork, but after being arrested on a $50,000 bail for fraud, identity theft and unlawful access to a computer, Weaver posted bail and received no charges for his clearly illegal actions.
Weaver, who is a junior at the university, has already received much criticism for being an editor of the underground student publication, The Koala, which promotes violence against women, obscene cartoons depicting sexual acts and pedophilia. The publication, which is issued monthly, has been dismantled as a student organization during the last year because of its unorthodox approaches to obtaining readership and the questionable material within the paper.
There is definitely something to be said about the abundance of unanswered questions within this slowly unfolding local drama. First of all, why is this gentleman (if we can even call him that) still a student? If someone was caught using keystroke devices on a school computer to access exam answers or faculty log-in information or perhaps even student records and grade logs, it’s safe to say they would no longer be attending the school — let alone be facing zero charges. And secondly, why is the bulk of this case just hitting the news in the third week of April when it happened in mid-March? In five weeks, a man was caught, arrested, released and charges were dropped before any local news station caught wind of the incident.
CSUSM is a school of roughly 10,200 students, making 700 log-ins slightly less than 7 percent of the student body, and we all know there is never 100 percent voter turnout in such elections. The stolen log-in information had the potential to put a decent sized bump in Weaver’s poll results. If he hadn’t been caught before the balloting ended, he likely would have raised eyebrows afterward.
According to an article in The CSUSM Pride student newspaper, Weaver was contacted but declined to make a statement and school officials would not comment on the future of his status as a student. The same article speculates about what may come next, stating that “Until Weaver is formally charged, it’s hard to gauge what sort of legal consequences he may face, but one legal expert said that the commission of this type (of) crime could lead to university punishment as well as a state trial.”
The FBI – which is required to find violation of a federal law in order to maintain jurisdiction – is now looking into the case, but has not confirmed its investigating as of yet. When originally arrested, Weaver faced numerous counts of identity theft and fraud, but one FBI official said it may have a federal case against Weaver. “We are looking into it,” FBI special agent Darrel Foxworth said. “I can’t say exactly what we are looking at, but given the facts and circumstances that have been reported to us, it appears there may be violations of federal laws.”
Hopefully the rulemakers at the CSU offices will be investigated as well. Of all the wrongs there are to right, this one seems pretty damn obvious.
As stated in his candidacy statement on the ASI website, Weaver is an active member in many clubs, an organization chairman and a business owner. If Weaver does face charges, his career as a college student and all that he claims to have going for him will be done. I hope it was worth it, Weaver.