Law School Discussion

Article on Berkeley Email Error

Article on Berkeley Email Error
« on: February 21, 2006, 11:56:39 AM »
San Mateo County Times

Berkeley blunder misleads applicants:
Acceptance e-mail accidentally sent out to law school hopefuls

By Michelle Maitre, STAFF WRITER

 
Thousands of applicants to UC Berkeley's law school received confusing communiqus Friday that seemed to indicate they had been accepted to the prestigious law school through an e-mail blunder committed by the school's admissions director.
Boalt Hall School of Law admissions director Edward Tom apologized profusely for the error Monday, which he said occurred while he was trying to show a new employee how to use the e-mail system.

Tom said he intended to send invitations to a private, alumni-sponsored event to about 500 people who have been granted early admission to Boalt. But one misguided and irretrievable mouse click sent the message to the list of applicants for fall admission.

"I sat there and realized what I had done, and it was one of those 'Oh my God' moments," Tom said. "I would say within three minutes the phone started ringing off the hook."

Tom said the message read, in part, "I am writing to congratulate you once more on your recent admission to Boalt and I cordially invite you to one more social event."

Judging by the number of responses he received, Tom suspects the message went to about half of the applicant pool about 3,500 would-be law students but it may have reached all 7,000 applicants.

Dozens of those who received the e-mail, and were understandably confused about its message, contacted the law school believing they had been accepted.

Tom said he "immediately" composed a second

e-mail, correcting and explaining the error, then followed that up with yet another message on Saturday morning offering a "more fulsome explanation and apology."

Mark Feeney of Bettendorf, Iowa, said his son, Adam, was one of those who received the e-mail message. Adam Feeney, 25, is working and studying in China and called his parents Friday night "overjoyed" at his apparent acceptance to Boalt, his father said.

Hours later, Adam sent the disappointing e-mail saying it had all been a mistake.

Adam "was especially curious as to why a school right in the middle of Silicon Valley would screw up on a technical point like that," said Mark Feeney, a copy editor at the Quad-City Times.
Tom said he takes full responsibility for the error and feels terrible about the confusion. He's been admissions director at Boalt for 19 years and nothing like this has ever happened before.

"I really understand how anxious applicants can get at this time of year," Tom said. "Everyone is very anxious and tense and I have a lot of sympathy for them."

Tom said Boalt is looking to install additional filters that would prevent similar errors from ever occurring again. In the future, Tom said he will ask technicians to send out mass e-mails.

"I will not be allowed to touch e-mail again," Tom said.


Contact Michelle Maitre at mmaitre@angnewspapers.com.

Those who received the e-mail are still in the running for Boalt, Tom stressed. The law school has yet to send out any denial letters, Tom said, and the real acceptance notification should be complete by the end of March. The law school typically admits between 750 and 850 applicants a year, he said.

"People need to understand that just because they got this e-mail does not mean they have been denied," Tom said. "That's the bottom line."

While disappointed, Adam Feeney thinks he still has a shot at Boalt, his father said.

"It's not like this has turned him against the college in any way," Mark Feeney said. "He's just sort of disappointed this whole thing happened."


Contact Michelle Maitre at mmaitre@angnewspapers.com.
 

Karl Pilkington

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Re: BIG Berkeley Error
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2006, 12:16:54 PM »
Ummm...yeah...there have been, like, 80 threads on this. It's still funny -- and frustrating for those involved -- though.

Sorry, didn't realize.  I'll keep this up in case the article is useful in providing people more info about how/why it happened.  Editing first post to make myself sound less out-of-touch  ;)

Re: BIG Berkeley Error
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2006, 12:33:53 PM »
Ummm...yeah...there have been, like, 80 threads on this. It's still funny -- and frustrating for those involved -- though.

Sorry, didn't realize.  I'll keep this up in case the article is useful in providing people more info about how/why it happened.  Editing first post to make myself sound less out-of-touch  ;)

Meh. With so many child boards, it's easy for things like this to get lost in the shuffle.

Hey, did you hear about that girl in Boston who totally hacked off that guy after turning down his job via e-mail?

Totally!  I think I saw it on xoxo *hangs head in shame*. 

Sometimes I get very bored at work... but, umm, I only read it for the articles  ;)