Sandy MacDonald says Holland College can’t apologize enough.
The college’s vice-president of academic and applied research said the institution recently sent an email to 40 applicants saying they had been accepted to the college this fall when they actually had not.
On Friday, April 6, a staff member in the college’s adult education department accidentally sent an email to 80 applicants in a variety of programs, only half of whom had actually been confirmed as accepted. The other 40 applicants were still pending.
“After sending it out she looked through the list a second time an hour later and realized, to her horror, that 40 students or more had gotten an email that they were in when they were not confirmed,’’ MacDonald said. “There were just over 80 applicants and 40 of them would have been accepted already and the remainder were not accepted; (they) were on the pending list.’’
MacDonald said the staff member sent out another email apologizing and explaining the error an hour later. She apologized again in another email that afternoon.
“She sent a third (email) out on Monday morning basically apologizing and (saying) that ‘you’re not confirmed yet, that you have to wait’.’’
MacDonald said the college received about 30 email responses to the staff member’s email asking for an explanation. There were also five phone calls.
“We apologized profusely, collectively and individually.’’
When asked if he thought the mistake would hurt the college’s reputation, MacDonald said there is no question people are going to be upset.
“If I got a call on a Friday morning saying I was accepted and a call an hour later saying I wasn’t, I’d be pissed off, quite frankly, so we’ve apologized to them. It’s not something that’s ever happened to us.’’
Since then, MacDonald said the college has made a policy change. No information will go out from adult education.
“All information regarding acceptance will go out solely from the registrar’s office. We had egg on our face last week. The intent was right and the execution was wrong. Our staff member . . . is an exemplary staff member and she is (an) extremely hard working and talented person and she feels brutal about it.’’
MacDonald hopes the mistake doesn’t cause any of the students to drop off its waiting list.
“We hope not. People, they’re understanding of it. They’re not happy about it but they’re understanding about it and we’ve explained what happened and we’ve made the policy change this week and that nothing goes out with the word ‘accepted’ in it except from the registrar’s office. We think that will solve the problem.’’