Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Unkindest Cut

As the Los Angeles Times writes in "UC San Diego admissions gaffe dashes students' hopes -- again," there was little to laugh about for the 28,000 applicants to UC San Diego who were rejected by the university but accidentally received a welcome e-mail message when the wrong databases were accessed.

Schools such as Cornell University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Northwestern University's prestigious Kellogg School of Management have made similar admission notification blunders in the last five years, but UC San Diego's mistake was by far the biggest.

Unfortunately, it sounds as though there will be little accountability enforced for this monumental error in computer-mediated communication that was emotionally trying for students and gave a digital black eye for the university's reputation as anything other than an impersonal institution with a blind bureaucracy.

UCSD admissions director Mae Brown called the snafu an "administrative error" but refused to say whether the mistake was made by one or more members of her staff or by a contractor or if those responsible would be disciplined.

The official web page from the admissions division at this point contains no public apology.

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