Harker email causes confusion among graduating students
Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 05:05
Senior Josh Lucas received an email from President Patrick Harker addressed to “Alexander” congratulating him on graduation and asking him to donate to his soon-to-be alma mater.
He was not the only senior who received the email addressed to a name other than his own.
“At least I had the right gender,” Lucas said. “My one roommate who is Alexander got Alexandra.”
He said he thinks he will still donate $100 because he wants to give back to the university, but he thought the error was funny.
“The fact that they could botch something that bad while they were asking people for money,” Lucas said. “The fact that it’s become an Internet joke is even better.”
Senior Tiara Goode said she received an email addressed to “Lucy” and will not donate to the senior gift after receiving the email. She said if she were to make a donation it would be to her own college.
“I thought it was unprofessional,” Goode said. “It was bad enough when an email like that is not personalized, but they completely messed it up.”
Beth Brand, associate vice president for university development, said the mishap happened in her department because they mixed up data fields.
Brand’s department was notified of the error within seven minutes after the emails were sent out. Approximately an hour and a half after the email was sent, officials sent a follow-up apology email. Brand said they wanted to find where the error had occurred and gather information before they sent the second email.
“Of course it is embarrassing for us,” she said. “I hope that they could see through the error and embrace the spirit of the email.”
From the apology email, Brand said about five students clicked the link to the donation website. Her office does not have real-time data to know if those students made a donation or not. She said officials plan on sending out additional apologies through Facebook and Twitter.
Senior Christopher McElwee, co-chair of the senior class gift council, said he hopes the email will not affect donations because they have had a strong campaign up until this point.
“I hope that in working with the apology email and with the support so far that this would not cause any disregard,” McElwee said.
He said if he had received the email he wouldn’t be discouraged from donating. He said he would overlook the glitch because he understands the importance of giving back to the university.
“Basically it was just human error with the data, for which we’re terribly sorry about,” McElwee said.
Senior Anthony Maiello, who had not thought about donating to the university, said he received the email addressed to “Morgan.” He said the email did not help to convince him to donate.
“If they want me to think we’re more than just a number here at UD, this definitely isn’t helping their case,” Maiello said.