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By Rob Shimshock
Graduating students at a U.K. university panicked after receiving an email at midnight Thursday saying that their graduation ceremony was cancelled.
The email, which contained the subject line “Graduation Ceremony Cancelled – No Award,” said that University of Edinburgh student recipients were “not expected to complete [their] studies until later in the year” and “may be eligible” for the next graduation ceremony, according to BuzzFeed News.
“I read the email right after it was sent last night,” said Calum Mackie, the English literature student who tweeted a screenshot of the email. “I saw the header and immediately panicked thinking I must have failed something in the recent exam diet and wouldn’t graduate.”
Mackie said that the email’s information was also posted to a portal on which students view their exam grades, and expressed anger that the university did not alert students regarding the email’s inaccuracy for nine hours after its distribution.
“I would like to know why such an error was made on such a large scale and [be given] reassurance that it won’t happen again to future final-year students,” said Mackie. “This caused a huge level of distress and worry for students anxiously awaiting their final degree results.”
Environmental geoscience student Claire Hutchinson called the email “extremely irresponsible.”
“I read the email at 2 a.m. while I was at a bar on holiday,” Hutchinson said. “I was very upset so immediately went back to my hostel believing the email to be true — there was no way of confirming its authenticity.”
Other recipients of the message expressed their frustrations on Twitter.
Edinburgh shitebag Uni sending me an erroneous midnight email telling 100s of students that they couldn't graduate!??! pic.twitter.com/f2yvcNIpAJ
— fibite me (@phoebetheamazon) May 31, 2017
A statement issued by the University of Edinburgh implied that the message was sent as a result of an internal error.
“Our preliminary investigation suggests that these emails were regrettably issued as a result of a system error,” said a university spokesperson in a statement obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. “There was no breach of our systems and no student data was compromised. All students who might have received the inaccurate information by email were contacted first thing this morning to reassure them that their graduations have not been cancelled, and asking them to ignore the emails.”
While Mackie alleged that “all final year undergraduates” received the email, the spokesperson said that the university is still determining which students were impacted.