For the past several weeks, a baseless rumor concerning Oregon State University men’s head basketball coach Craig Robinson has been circulating online. Sent with such subject lines as “Stimulus Does Work” and “Job Saved,” the e-mail falsely claims that Robinson’s job was in jeopardy last fall, but was “saved” when an undersecretary of the U.S. Dept. of Education “was dispatched to Corvallis with $17 million in stimulus money” for OSU.
The message concludes by pointing out that Robinson is the brother of First Lady Michelle Obama.
OSU has received queries about the e-mail from numerous individuals, as well as from organizations that specialize in debunking Internet falsehoods. One such site, About.com’s “Urban Legends” blog, reported on March 11, “While it’s true that Oregon State University head basketball coach Craig Robinson is Michelle Obama's brother, virtually everything else in this message is false.”
“When I asked OSU Director of Athletics Bob De Carolis to comment on this rumor — which is as much a smear against him as it is against Coach Robinson and the Obama administration — his response was succinct: “There is absolutely no truth to any of this, period,’” wrote About.com Guide David Emery.
OSU reports its funding from the federal stimulus package or “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” (ARRA) on a special Web site created months ago. The publicly available site lists 60 competitive ARRA grants to OSU totaling $26.4 million, and includes detail on each project and the principal investigator leading it. Projects range from climate change-related research developing a historic record of atmospheric carbon dioxide to a study of a new combination treatment for cancer.
OSU regrets that the above rumor unfortunately continues to be spread, and asks that individuals join the university in laying it to rest.