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Dear Kelsey,

I know that complaining about PSU’s communication is soo last semester (I work at an academic press; I can still use the semester as a unit of time) but I’ve just received an email that I think demands some newly revised complaint. 

The text is as follows:

Hi Mary,

This message serves as a follow-up to a recent email that you
received from Portland State University about opportunities to live on campus. In our previous email, we offered our congratulations on your recent acceptance to the University. Please note that the Admissions office is still reviewing your application at this time and will notify you by mail once a decision has been reached.

We apologize for any confusion that our email may have caused.

Sincerely,
University Housing

Now, I’ve been sending out a LOT of email campaigns at work, and the ways we flag certain names for certain lists is certainly problematic. Emails go out to the same person twice because the “Remove Duplicate Entries” function requires the address to be an exact match. So when the University of Puget Sound rebranded a few years ago and all our school emails changed from @ups.edu to @pugetsound.edu, all of our professors on Paradigm’s list would have gotten two messages of everything we sent, even though they routed to the same place. It’s a nightmare. 

But at least all of the people on our lists have–at some point–expressed interest in the topic (even if they later ask to be taken off the list). 

Now, admittedly, I DID express interest in PSU. But:

1. I WAS accepted to PSU
2. I was already notified by mail
3. When applying, I clearly marked myself as an “Off Campus/Commuter” student
4. I’ve deferred my admission for over a year, and the original email was in regards to Winter housing

And I’ve gotten regular emails from both PSU and NYU in the wake of my deferral(s). I found the orientation reminders silly and the agendas a little sad, but I understood, at least, why I made it on the those lists. 

And clearly this email is pretty harmless. But if I hadn’t been accepted already–if I’d gotten the first email and reacted as if it had been an actual acceptance–it would have been very far from harmless. 

Now watch as I tie this tangentially-related-to-publishing anecdote back to Breaking Book News. 

Shine Cover

Did you hear about the National Book Awards nominations? Lauren Myracle’s Shine was withdrawn from the list after it was revealed that the NBA staff misheard Chime by Fanny Billingsley. Yikes. NBA is donating $5000 to the Matthew Shepard Foundation in support of Shine’s cause, but the damage has already been done. (Just read the comments on the Publisher’s Weekly article for a taste of the outrage) And although the mistake is giving Shine a LOT of attention, I don’t know if it quite makes up for such a heartbreaking oversight. As an industry, we trade in the specificity of language and the eloquence of the properly chosen word. Nothing is perfect, obviously, but if I have to attempt some kind of resolution to this post, I guess I would encourage us to be attentive to such details inside and outside the covers of the book. 

Or, PERHAPS, in non-book related situations as well. 

DFTBA,

Maggie

P.S. I’m not going to lie, a big incentive for this post was the opportunity to put something in the “Grad School” category 😉 

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