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Website images confuse students; CIT admits to posting odd photos

Aliens landed on campus.

Or so students might have thought Monday night.


The University home page usually displays picturesque images of campus, but late Monday those photos were replaced with images that Manager of Web Instructional and Media Services Serge Goldstein described as "puzzling and strange."

The new photos included a man shouting in a vacant room, a large, unidentifiable face and a blurry, spherical object that closely resembled a flying saucer.

Now you see 'em . . .

"We were just using a new set of rotating pictures for the home page," Goldstein explained. He said the image of the screaming man was Harold Dodds, University president from 1933 to 1957, and that the image of the "flying saucer" was really the sundial between McCosh Hall and the chapel.

Goldstein said the changes were intentional, and he added that the decision to change the set of photographs was initiated by CIT.

"These were routine pictures that turned out pretty strange," he said. "We will review pictures more carefully in the future. There was no hacking or anything like that."

Now you don't


The bizarre pictures were added Monday night but were removed yesterday morning, according to Goldstein.

The reason for removing the images was to prevent confusion, Goldstein said. Even those unaware of the intended changes Monday night were alerted to the changes in yesterday's 'Prince' article, he said. "Students who saw the article in the 'Prince' may have been puzzled. If pictures look like the work of hackers, we should remove them," Goldstein said.

J.T. Miller '70, illustrator of "Princeton University: The First 250 Years," said the images were from his book, which was authored by Don Oberdorfer '52.

Miller said many pictures of President Dodds are in the University archives. He noted that the picture of President Dodds that appeared on the home page was "typical of him. He was a fun guy."

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The "flying saucer," which confused many students who called the 'Prince' Monday night, was identified by Miller as "an experimental air-cushioned vehicle – like a hovercraft – at an experimental exhibition at Forrestal Campus in 1959."

The photos that appeared on the University site can be viewed at