Friday, March 9, 2018

Two mistakes by universities


I just enjoyed listening to Episode OHS044 of AlejAndro Anastasio’s One Hand Speaks podcast which is titled How I got into College. He had moved to the Seattle area after having attended Indiana University for three years. AlejAndro describes getting an acceptance letter from the University of Washington (UW) in the mail. Later that day he got a phone call from the admissions office asking if he had opened that letter. He replied yes. They said then you have to come down here and sign a statement to that effect. UW had accidentally put his application into the accept pile, when it should have been in the reject pile. But once they had sent him the letter saying he was admitted, and he’d opened and read it, they were obligated to honor it. That sounds to me like a policy that would have resulted from UW having lost a lawsuit about doing race sensitive admissions.   

His story reminded me of a graphical screw up at my alma mater, now known as Carnegie Mellon University. If you look at the very top of my Bachelor of Science degree from 1972 (see attached image) you will find it actually says Carnegie -Mellon University (and also on the thistle logo). There is a very silly story about how the hyphen got stuck on the left side of that M.

Back in 1967 Carnegie Institute of Technology merged with the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research. The combination was very briefly known just as Carnegie University. Almost instantly the very powerful Mellon family contacted the administration to express their extreme displeasure about their name being left off. The name was supposed to be corrected to  Carnegie - Mellon University. The engineering college got to keep the old name of Carnegie Institute of Technology, and the science college became Mellon Institute of Science. The new graphics were created in extreme haste, but not fixed for a couple of decades. Then they got rid of that pesky hyphen. Those details are not acknowledged on the history page of the university website.      

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