Reed Speaker's Commencement Prank

May 22, 2014

Reed College's commencement speaker this year was Igor Vamos, an alumnus who is part of the group "Yes Men," which is known for its political satire and pranks. Vamos pulled off a hoax during his commencement talk, telling Reed's newest graduates of his pride in learning that the college was about to sell all stock in fossil fuel companies. Vamos even created a fake press release announcing the shift. In reality, some Reed students are pushing for divestment, and the college has agreed to study the issue, but no decision has been made. The Portland Tribune briefly fell for the prank and published a news brief based on the fake release. In a (real) press release, Reed's president. John Kroger, said he enjoyed the hoax. "Vamos is a great guerrilla artist and we were proud to have him return to Reed,” said Kroger. “We appreciate the robust and far-ranging debate that this prank will continue to spur.”


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