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After 'Professor' Dies of COVID, Bizarre Hoax Theory Emerges

It appears the professor never existed and the related Twitter feed was bogus
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2020 10:40 AM CDT
Updated Aug 8, 2020 2:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – It's a convoluted tale without a lot of answers at the moment. It revolves around an apparently fictitious professor at Arizona State University, the announcement of that professor's death on Twitter of COVID-19, and a prominent crusader against sexual harassment in the sciences. Digging in:

  • The death: Last Friday, a Twitter post announced the death of a female professor at Arizona State University. The professor, thought to be a Native American member of the LGBTQ community, was known only by her Twitter handle of @Sciencing_Bi, and she had written critically of ASU's coronavirus policy as well, as of sexual harassment in academia, reports BuzzFeed. Soon, though, the story began to fall apart.
  • Other player: The death announcement came from neuroscientist BethAnn McLaughlin, a former Vanderbilt professor who founded MeTooSTEM, a group dedicated to ridding the sciences of sexual harassment, per the Arizona Republic. She is perhaps best known for getting Rate My Professors to ditch its "hotness" rating for instructors.

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