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Operation CATFISH catches dozens of students flouting Covid safety in dating app profiles

They thought they were safe. Social media blackout? Check. VPN? Check. Blood pact of secrecy? Check.

Nobody was supposed to find out about Mexico (or Miami or DR or Austin or Jamaica). Lips and phones were sealed. Detox was quiet for a while.

Alas, #roséseason is around the corner and springtime lust cannot be contained forever. The dating apps were calling, and those pre-quarantine profiles needed a little touch up. What better way to show off thirteen months of apartment-floor pushups than some fresh photos in the Tijuana sun?

But the University was ready. They saw what happened to CBS. NYU couldn’t afford a scandal, not with such ambitious plans for the next decade. With the Governor’s office too preoccupied to offer any support from the State, the NYU Board of Directors decided to take aggressive action internally.

In the wee days of 2021, the University launched Operation CATFISH (CATching Frattiness In Spring Break PHotos). Developed under close consultation with McKinsey & Company, CATFISH brought Cold War Era techniques into the 21st century world of dating apps. After months of cultivating bogus profiles on Bumble, Hinge, and even Tinder, dozens of operatives were on the prowl, scanning the apps for suspicious student activity.

And boy, did they find it.

Thirteen Stern bachelorettes appeared with nearly carbon copy profile images: each one standing on the exact same rock. Coincidence? How about suspensions! Cancun, EXPOSED.

Three not-as-original-as-they-thought bachelors changed their Hinge “Best Travel Story” to “That time when we shut down South Beach.” Miami, EXPOSED.

One by one, students unwittingly flaunted their new sunburns and Panama hats to Stern administrators and Good Samaritan students alike. Those CATFISH operatives were then tasked with containing the potential fallout. First step: extract as much information from each target as possible.

Who else was there? What exactly did you do? Who have you told? How bad is our exposure?  If the University got its arms around this thing quickly, it could shut it down quietly.

Enter some too-tantalizing-to-be-true University operative dating profiles (like the kind you see on Tinder, but these aren’t asking for money). Flirty DMs opened like floodgates. Evidence poured in. Nearly one third of the class was either directly or indirectly implicated.

On Monday, March 29th, the hammer dropped. Perpetrating students tried logging into class only to be re-routed to a mysterious breakout room. The black screen faded to a fuming Scott Galloway, screaming paternal disappointment from his empty Ritz-Carlton Zoom studio.

The students heard only one word: Expelled.

After a hard-fought Freedom of Information Act suit, The Oppy was able to review a redacted version of the University’s classified report. In another Oppy exclusive, we spoke with Unindicted Co-conspirator No. 1 about his side of the story.


Oppy: Walk me through your thought process here. You’re feeling the dating profile looks a little stale, you fire up the camera roll, and… Por qué no?

Individual 1: What harm could it do? It wasn’t exactly public, right? It’s just Bumble. The only people who were supposed to see it were those sweet singles who were too scared of Covid to talk to me last year.

It was time to get back on the wagon (off the wagon?), and I had to come out en fuego. I know we said we’d wait to post until after graduation… but I haven’t looked like that much fun since 2016. It was best-foot-forward time.

Are you familiar with Icarus?

You mean that Netflix doc about the crazy Russians?

Not quite. Anyway, do you feel like you might have flown a bit too close to the sun with some of these profile photos? Isn’t that a Mexican flag in this one? 

Me gusta Señor Frog’s, what can I say?

What about this one: you appear to have embroidered your Goldman duffel with “Mojito Crew 4 Lyfe”?

Listen – it’s a bloodbath out there. It’s competitive. I’ve had to extend my radius to New Jersey. I mean like Bergen County ****, man. Up there. You’ve gotta flex with everything you have. Ever since Big Joe declared the end of Corona it’s like musical chairs – I don’t want to be left single when the music stops.

Aren’t you like 32? Didn’t you “only live once” nine or ten years ago?

Everybody knows business school is about balancing the Big Three: MBA1 spring break, getting paid, and MBA2 spring break. Corona took the first one from all of us. It took the second one from too many. I’ll be damned if I let it stop us again. Plus, I’ve made only like three or four rich friends so far; those are rookie numbers. Everyone knows trips abroad are how you land that good-good network.

Speaking of that network, aren’t you burning some bridges by cooperating with CATFISH? How exactly did you avoid expulsion, anyway?

Hmm. Well. This is a little… sensitive. Off the record?

Of course (not).

I must have been one of the first to get tangled up in this mess.

It all started one night when I woke to a buzz on my phone. I special program that **** so I knew it was Bumble. This Fashion & Luxury MBA cutie I didn’t recognize had opened our chat with a killer stock tip. Micro-cap, lots of upside, about to hit the market. Some of the CATFISH people got pretty into character. Like really into character. Anyways, we ended up hitting it off. She loves SPACs, I love SPACs – I told you it’s been lonely, right?

We chatted for a few weeks – she wanted to be safe about in-person contact – and, well, I guess fell in love. We had such a good thing going that when the whole thing started falling apart, we decided to be together. If that means helping out with this whole CATFISH thing, so be it.

So, do you have any regrets?

Would I do it all again? No. Was it Spring Break? Yeah. Do I enjoy getting catfished? Well, kinda, this time. Was it barely defensible and wildly irresponsible? Probably. Do pigs fly? Is it April 1st? Yeah 😉.

Disclaimer: This article is part of our April Fool’s issue and does not have any truth to it. Its purpose is not to cause offense but to bring some laughs,or at least an eyeroll, during these weird times.

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