Updated 3:10 p.m. Friday
An investigation into anonymous emails sent to the University of Illinois Senates Conference concludes there was no evidence of "hacking" and that they came from former Chief of Staff Lisa Troyer.
But in a statement issued Friday afternoon, Troyer maintained she "did not write or send" the emails. She said she initiated the investigation into the emails. She also noted she made no public statements while the investigation was under way and cooperated fully as it proceeded.
The UI inquiry found no evidence that President Michael Hogan or anyone else knew that she had sent the emails, the report by outside investigators said.
A pdf of the 29-page report is available at the UI's website .
"This appears to be an incident where someone acted alone. (President Hogan) was not aware of the writing or sending of these emails," said UI spokesman Tom Hardy.
The inquiry centered on a pair of anonymous emails sent to members of the University's academic senates conference on Dec. 12, in connection with an enrollment management initiative.
Conducted by Jones Day and Duff & Phelps, the investigation concluded there was no evidence of "hacking" or vulnerabilities in the network and concluded that the emails were drafted on and sent from Troyer's laptop, and the laptop was in her possession at the time.
"I had nothing to do with these emails and, although the source and motivation have not yet been uncovered, I believe that in the fullness of time, the truth behind this matter will be revealed," Troyer said in a statement.
Troyer resigned her administrative post as chief of staff to Hogan effective immediately on Jan. 4. She said in her statement on Friday that she resigned because she knew she couldn't be effective in her job while the investigation was under way.
In a final report released today, which was based on a forensic examination of emails and computers and interviews with relevant personnel, the investigative team found:
— The emails were composed and sent from Troyer's laptop, and an examination of browser activity, firewall logs, email headers and email fragments found on the laptop all support this conclusion.
— Troyer's laptop computer was not improperly accessed and was in her possession at the time the anonymous emails were sent. "There is no evidence of hacking or vulnerabilities in the University network," the report said.
— "The investigative record does not support a conclusion that any other person, including Hogan, knew that Troyer intended to send or had sent the anonymous emails," the report said.
The inquiry was launched on Dec. 12 to ascertain the source and whether the university's information technology security was compromised, UI officials said.
That inquiry was led by the university's IT department. The incident was later reported to the UI's Ethics Office, which consulted with the IT department and assumed control of the investigation, assisted by the university's chief legal counsel.
On Dec. 22, the president approved the use of outside experts to assist in the investigation, legal counsel Jones Day and forensic data analyst Duff & Phelps.
Hogan thanked the investigative team for working quickly over the holidays and also expressed his disappointment about the events.
"The investigative team has made a thorough examination of the facts on which to base its conclusions. This was a disappointing event, and we have taken the necessary steps to address it," Hogan said in a release.
UI Board of Trustees Chair Christopher Kennedy said the "misguided attempt by one individual to sway opinion" must not distract the university community from work on managing enrollment.
"This is an unfortunate incident and a personal, ethical lapse which the president moved swiftly to investigate," Kennedy said in the release. "There is no relationship between this incident and good work being done on key initiatives, like the enrollment management plan, which is the result of months of research, hard work and consultation with faculty groups and others. The Board and the administration have made great progress toward improving this essential function, addressing concerns as they have been expressed. This important work will continue, unhindered."
The two anonymous emails were sent to 20 members of the Senates Conference, and both were identified in the text as having been written by an unnamed senator. The address from which the emails were sent, firstname.lastname@example.org , did not identify a specific individual as the sender.
A Senates Conference member, UI Prof. Roy Campbell, noticed embedded data in the email indicated that it was created on a computer with the user account of "troyer," investigators said.
Investigators reviewed more than 3,500 emails from Troyer's university email account from the month of December, and additional emails from the fall, which contained key search words. Troyer voluntarily supplied access to her personal gmail account and records of calls to and from her cell phone, they said.
Troyer, Hogan and others were interviewed, and Duff & Phelps performed a rigorous forensic analysis of the hard drive of Troyer's laptop, examining Internet activity, browser history records and deleted material, the release said. They were able to verify that "the system's firewall was functioning normally" and the "activity found on the network security systems was consistent with activity found on the Troyer laptop."
Troyer was hired as Hogan's chief of staff in July 2010. She also holds an appointment as a tenured professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on the Urbana campus. She plans to transition to back to teaching and research, though campus officials have said they want to review that plan.
It's possible university policies, including the code of conduct and appropiate use policy, were violated, according to the UI's ethics officer, Donna McNeely.