The university regrets the error....

Publications in a hurry sometimes get things wrong. They account for this occasional failings in a little box, usually somewhere inconspicuous, labeled "corrections." Corrections may involve mixed names or dates, misquotes or mix-ups, for example: "Yesterday's Daily Blab identified Irving Nern as "a leading engineer based in Paris." He actually is a sanitation engineer based in Paris, Texas. The Blab regrets the error." Or "Due to incorrect interpretation of information collected by one of our part-time, minimum-wage student interns, Julie Nern’s and David Retzlaff's divorce was listed yesterday among the Blab's court records. It actually should have been listed among the marriage licenses. The Blab regrets the error."

Universities, on the other hand, offer no such correction boxes to students. In fact, more often staff try to cover up blunders and stumbles with signs such as "Your lack of planning is not our emergency"; "Toilet out of order"; "Beware of inoperable Registrar’s Office," etc. Perhaps instead the university should publish weekly correction boxes in the campus newsletter. Possible content of a university correction box might include these examples:

Correction. The university last fall hired a number of teaching assistants who know little about their topic, who bully and ignore freshmen, and who may not even speak passable English. The university regrets the error, but due to lack of funding for faculty will do the same thing again next year.

Notice. Last week's book buy-back line stretched behind the bookstore, through the lounge and all the way to the downstairs toilets. Students who reached the front of this line were awarded with $3 each for books originally retailing at $85. Buy-back coordinators actually should have told students to go home and not waste their time. The bookstore regrets the omission.

Correction. Students in a number of classes discovered last semester that their professors were not in their offices to answer questions, even during supposed office hours. University administrators regret that these professors were busy fund-raising and doing research for which they receive considerably greater rewards than they do for keeping office hours and advising students. This situation will be examined to find a way to raise funds by charging students an office-hour visit fee.

Clarification. Last fall university campus police issued 3,264 parking tickets to student vehicles. This is an error. The parking ticket quota has been set at a goal of 3,000. Those students who can offer proof that their tickets are among those in excess of this number will be eligible to receive refunds (subject to $5 late fee). The ticketing agents regret the error.

Correction. Computer cluster breakdowns during finals week left 173 anguished seniors under arrest for disorderly conduct after they stormed the Help Desk and stuffed its smugly disdainful employees into the recycling barrels. These students should not have been arrested; instead, university policy requires a one-month "time out," making it impossible for these students to graduate until all the good jobs are taken. ITS regrets the error.

Due to incorrect information given the food service, it was assumed students would favor "Knoepfla" as featured soup the last 15 days in a row. Last night's food riot indicated this assumption was not correct. The food service regrets the error, and from now on will trade off with borscht.

Copyright 2004 by Ross F. Collins <>