Caltech Pranks MIT with Fake Transfer Forms

Published : Tuesday, September 26, 2017 | 5:31 AM

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology got pranked on September 22 after a group of California Institute of Technology (Caltech) students managed to infiltrate the MIT campus 2,970 miles away in Cambridge, Mass. and plastered it with fake (and funny) Caltech transfer forms.

The posting of the fake transfer forms by the Caltech students is the latest salvo in a long-standing prank war between the two science and technology schools.

In a post in Caltech Parents’ Facebook account, the Techers behind the latest prank were identified as Brandon Robinson, Dessie DiMino, Michael Rupprecht, Kyle Patterson, Karthik Karnik, Ray Sun, Camilla Ora, and Tom Mannion.

The fake Caltech transfer forms posted on Facebook listed “MIT Isn’t challenging enough,” “Can’t figure out Boston traffic,” and “Snow” as among the reasons to transfer to Caltech.

“Perhaps our favorite reason listed for transferring from MIT to Caltech “Lack of good boba.” said one Caltech parent in the post.

The prank war stemmed from the intense rivalry between the colleges as the top science and engineering schools in the United States. The rivalry is unusual given the geographic distance between the schools (their campuses are separated by about 3,000 miles on opposite coasts of the United States and on its focus on elaborate pranks rather than sporting events.

Prior to the posting of the fake transfer application forms, Caltech students pulled multiple pranks during MIT’s Campus Preview Weekend for prospective freshmen in April 2005.

As reported in MIT’s newspaper The Tech and The California Tech, the pranks included handing out 400 T-shirts to prospective MIT freshmen that were packaged so that “MIT” was visible on the front, but on the back, it said “because not everybody can go to Caltech.”

Techers also placed a banner over the word Massachusetts in a “Massachusetts Institute of Technology” banner, so that it read “That Other Institute of Technology.”

MIT students responded a year later by stealing Caltech’s antique Fleming Cannon and transporting it across the country to MIT’s campus. According to the Slice of MIT website, ( the theft was carried out by MIT students posing as the Howe & Ser Moving Company.

“Seven hackers made the cross-country trip to Pasadena: five drove non-stop from Cambridge and two arrived via plane. About 20 others assisted in logistics, helped construct the 21-pound replica Brass Rat, designed the plaque, and prepared for the cannon’s arrival,” a participant of the heist revealed in an interview posted in the Slice of MIT website.

The prank cost around $7,000 including payments for car rentals, shipping, disguises, and other fees, the participant revealed.

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