Service of a Mistake You Wish Hadn’t Happened

December 18th, 2014

Categories: Education, Mistakes, School

oops 2

My senior year in high school was one of the most stressful of my life. That’s why this mistake caught my attention. Someone in the admissions department of Johns Hopkins sent an email with the subject line, “Embrace the Yes,” to 294 students telling them that they had been accepted when, in fact, they had been rejected.

EraseAccording to coverage in, in an article by Jonathan Ernst for Reuters, the college immediately admitted its mistake and apologized. “Admissions decisions days are stressful enough. We very much regret having added to the disappointment felt by a group of very capable and hardworking students, especially ones who were so committed to the idea of attending Johns Hopkins that they applied early decision,” Ernst quoted David Phillips, vice provost for admissions and financial aid at the University.

Mistakes happen. The university did what it could to address the matter and with speed. But oh, gosh! In this discussion I’m not including fatal mistakes by physicians, surgeons or parachute folders. Have you made such an error, been the recipient of one or heard of slip-ups with no happy ending that make you slap your head and exclaim, “Oh no!”

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8 Responses to “Service of a Mistake You Wish Hadn’t Happened”

  1. Hank Goldman Said:

    I wonder if the Sony Corporation are slapping their heads now?
    I just heard if they spent more on cyber, Internet, security, the current attack problem may not have been so bad…

    They “cheaped” out of security, and now the result is terrible, terrible world wide repercussions…
    Also, I think they made a good choice to Pull the movie, The Interview, but the rest of the world thinks they copped out!?!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I don’t know whether I would have wanted to go to the Sony movie but had it been on my list, I am not sure that I would have gone as it falls under what my Mom used to describe as “Here’s the chip on my shoulder, now knock it off,” or running to rent space in the rebuilt World Trade Center. I get into enough trouble without looking for it.

    If what you heard–and I did as well–that Sony did not take proper security precautions to save money, then shame on them and the loss they took on this film may teach them a lesson. I understand that they are the subject of a class action suit by people –Sony staff I think–whose social security numbers and other personal information was published for all to see.

  3. PLH Said:

    Years ago, the Spence School, one of New York’s more prestigious private schools, expelled my daughter after she completed the eighth grade because she was dyslectic- there were no behavioral or disciplinary issues –, and its faculty supposedly did not know what to do about it. The only problem was that no one bothered to tell either her or me. Indeed, the school had already billed me for her hefty ninth grade fees, and I had already paid them, before we found out.

    How did we find out? When my daughter showed up on the first day of school she was told she was no longer a student at Spence and sent home. When I followed up, the administration was defensive, legalistic and unsympathetic. To put it bluntly, they were down right nasty.

    The story has a happy ending. We eventually found her another school and she went to score a perfect 1600 on her reading and math SATs.

    Even so, our bitterness has yet to dissipate. I do not believe that it ever will.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    What a horrible thing for anybody to do to a child–or to anyone–at a private or public school or at any place. Had I been that child I might never again have wanted to walk into any school. Fortunately, she was clearly brilliant and too smart to take that approach.

    If this happened today and if the parents were social media savvy, there would be such a ruckus made that neither Spence nor any other school would ever again do such a thing. And I bet that the parents, if they wanted to, could sue the school and win.

    My mother was also very bright and took one of the first of its kind of intelligence tests when she was in public school in NYC. I don’t recall if she was goofing off or what she’d done but the result of her test showed that she would never advance beyond the mental age of 13. The principal wouldn’t listen to my grandmother who pointed to all the ways her child had already done so and all the reasons she didn’t think her daughter had any learning or other disabilities. Every year my grandmother sent this principal my mother’s grades including her college results. As luck would have it, she bumped into Ms. Whatever Her Name was in an elevator in a Paris hotel. She introduced herself and my mother, reminding the principal of her prediction, loving every minute of it. My mother was in Paris to get married.

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    The John Hopkins incident will blow over. Had it happened to me, I would eventually be laughing over that gaffe, as will most of those “victims,” many of whom who may well be flourishing their Harvard or Princeton acceptances instead. Poor students are not likely to apply to that school and can well afford the chuckle. Further, most students apply to several schools, thus suffering little to no harm.

    A fatal error on the part of doctors, or anyone in charge of public or private safety is a totally different matter, and one which is likely to be followed by serious repercussions.

    While admitting to having made a number of embarrassing errors, none of them come close to those described above…….but I have not yet left the planet…..

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I wince to think at the mistakes I’ve made and if I dwelled on them it would not be a good thing. And like you, who knows what I might come up with before a nail hits my coffin.

    You also made me feel better by pointing out what I’d overlooked: That mostly bright students apply to a school like Johns Hopkins and that another great place is waiting for each of them elsewhere.

    Still, I’d hate to be the administrator in charge of sending out the acceptance/rejection news when the boss knocked on my door to tell me of the error. Before hitting “send” in future, this person will move a bit slower I’d predict.

  7. Anonymous Said:

    I’ve got a story about a physician who over prescribed opiates to a patient (me). After spending several days in the hospital, I went to his office to confront him, and his only excuse was that I kept complaining about pain in my knees and back, all of which have had surgery. He was right, but I didn’t ask to be turned into a drug addict and I didn’t know one of the drugs he’d prescribed was an opiate. Now I am in more pain, but on one lower dose opiate. I make weekly visits to a pain clinic. But on the plus side, I’ve quit falling, I can drive and I feel like myself. I also have a new doctor who has agreed not to prescribe opiates to me.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I don’t know if this is a mistake as much as a doctor who should be replaced as you have done and thank goodness for that. Great that you are functioning well now. I have heard countless examples like this and I find it distressing. I feel exhausted trying to defend myself and my loved ones with attitudes that some in health care exhibit today.

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