Glitch warns 1,800 of enrollment termination

    An accidental e-mail sent by the registrar’s office on Jan. 14 incorrectly notified 1,800 UCSD students that the university had dropped them from their classes and that they were no longer enrolled at the university. The error occurred while the registrar was testing a new system for informing students of delinquencies in their account, according to Assistant Vice Chancellor of Admissions and Enrollment Services Mae W. Brown.

    “It was a glitch,” Brown said. “The registrar was running a test and accidentally sent the e-mail to a random group of 1,800 students who paid their fees.”

    Every quarter, the registrar tests the system used to notify students who fail to pay fees, according to Brown.

    The message stated, “We are sorry to inform you that you have been canceled from your classes for the winter quarter 2005 because of failure to pay all registration fees by the end of the second week of classes.”

    The registrar’s office knew it had made a mistake right after it sent the e-mail, according to Campus Integrated Systems Director Rick Espinosa.

    “They were testing a new feature for the registrar to notify students who did not pay fees and accidentally grabbed [the] wrong file,” Espinosa said. “They realized it as soon as it happened, that it was sent out to real students instead of test students.”

    The office lost the file immediately after it sent the e-mail, so workers were unable to identify the students who received the message.

    Several concerned students contacted the registrar’s office throughout the day, but the office resolved the matter quickly, according to administrative assistant Cailin Caulfield, who works in the registrar’s office.

    “For an hour or two, it was really busy,” Caulfield said. “Some students were initially worried, but the matter was resolved as soon as they reached us.”

    Approximately four hours after sending the first e-mail, the registrar’s office distributed a second message to all UCSD students telling them of the error.

    “Because of a computer glitch, incorrect e-mail messages were sent to some students,” the second e-mail stated. “If you received an e-mail dated 1/14/05 with the subject line ‘UCSD Enrollment Cancellation,’ please ignore it. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused.”

    The situation was resolved promptly because many of the students had already gotten the correction by the time they checked their mail, Caulfield said.

    “Fortunately, many students had already received the correction and the error,” she said. “That is why not as many students contacted us as you would expect.”

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