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Edinburgh University System Error Sends Out ‘Failed Degree’ Emails

As News Editor of Silicon UK, Roland keeps a keen eye on the daily tech news coverage for the site, while also focusing on stories around cyber security, public sector IT, innovation, AI, and gadgets.

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The panic causing glitch indicates that human oversight of tech is still needed

Edinburgh University students received a shock in the early hours of Thursday when a “system error” sent emails to final year fledgling academics informing them they would not graduate this summer.

 The BBC reported that the students were informed that they did not have the requisite credits to receive their degree. 

“Our preliminary investigation suggests that these emails were regrettably issued as a result of a system error,” a university spokesperson told the BBC. 

“There was no breach of our systems and no student data was compromised. The university has written to all students affected to reassure them that their graduations have not been cancelled and asking them to ignore the emails.

“All students who might have received the inaccurate information were contacted first thing this morning and told that this was an error. We are currently investigating exactly which students were affected.”

Email error 

Uni emailAs one might expect, the reaction of students was not exactly one of casual whimsy; angry and upset students took to Twitter to air their views. 

“Massive anxiety and distress caused by Edinburgh University emailing all final years saying they failed. ,” said Ruth Salter. 

“This has better be a computer glitch @EdinburghUni … can’t seriously be saying loads of us won’t be graduating in July???” added Twitter user Ellie. 

One student on Twitter called Rhi was evidently distressed by the errant email: @EdinburghUni Literally spent the past hour in tears because I thought I’d FAILED MY DEGREE.” 

While system errors can affect even the most up-to-date and robust IT infrastructure, the email error serves as an indication that some tasks require human oversight and an extra layer of scrutiny to avoid technical blips from causing potential chaos

Part of this does involve having modern IT infrastructure that can cope with the demands and expectations of people now surrounded with technology that puts information literally at their finger tips. 

This is something British Airways should enshrine into their future IT strategy after a major systems outage saw passengers grounded for day and cost the company severely in compensation and reputation

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