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When Your Fireside Chat Dreams Go Up In Flames

We bet Bollinger wouldn't have dropped Jordanian Queen Rania.

We bet Bollinger wouldn’t have dropped Jordanian Queen Rania.

Editor Nadra Rahman comes to you with a heart full of lamentation. Today, instead of preparing for an intimate night by the fire with fluffy-haired CU dreamboat Prezbo, she sits alone and thinks of what might have been.

The Chain of Events

On Friday, January 2, 2016, I received an email about the fireside chat, an “opportunity to have a candid conversation” with President Bollinger. “Okay,” I thought as I filled out the lottery form. “Whatever.” In the space where we had to type in a question to ask the president, I drew a blank and hastily typed, “Do you believe in miracles?” which was neither clever nor funny, but was in the interrogative form.

The following Thursday, I was notified of my selection. I confirmed, mildly confused by my own luck and excited at the prospect of skipping my chemistry lecture. Here is where it gets confusing: the next day, at 1:03 pm, I received a rejection letter, not an uncommon occurrence for me. The email read, “As you know, interest in these events is high and we are unable to extend an invitation to all entrants…” What? I ignored this second message, but I’m not sure how I was able to dismiss it so easily.

Here is the email I got a few hours later, at 3:46 pm:

Dear Nadra,

Thank you again for entering the lottery for the Fireside Chat with President Bollinger on February 10. Since the notification that your name was selected and the email confirming your spot, we discovered a technical error in the system that generated more confirmations than there are spots available at the chat. Because of that, it is unfortunate that we have to cancel a few confirmations, which includes your attendance.

I understand that this is frustrating and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. As a condolence for our oversight, you will automatically be added and confirmed for the next Fireside Chat with President Bollinger (if your schedule allows). You will not have to register to be entered into the lottery. You will have a confirmed seat.

We hope that you understand and again, we sincerely apologize for this. if you should have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

The Reaction

What a blow! I was utterly crushed. It was “frustrating,” an “inconvenience,” and truly deserving of condolences. It was simultaneously a relief, because I didn’t really have anything to say to PrezBo and the opportunity probably would have been wasted on me. But still—what an utter drag. To raise my hopes and then crush them? To blame everything on a computer glitch? To rob me of the opportunity to guiltlessly skip a class? Not okay.

The administration is flawed in a lot of ways, but this is perhaps the most egregious demonstration of its uncaring, impassive nature in recent memory. Suddenly the sheen wears off, and the administration is revealed as little more than a processing component that spews out faulty results. No more gazing into PrezBo’s eyes as he talks about global centers and feigns relatability; now, acceptance that we are all figures entering and leaving lotteries, cogs in a machine that does not care about desires spurned or schedules shifted. Or, you know, not, and it was just a computer malfunction, which, I have to admit—does happen.

I have another quibble—why was I one of the people kicked out? Was my question that bad? (Yes.) Well, I guess that’s something to talk about at the next fireside chat, for which my attendance is confirmed (for now).

Prezbo schmoozing it up via Wikimedia Commons

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  • What says:

    @What Is this satire or are you seriously just trying to find something to complain about? A technical error led to a cancellation of your seat for this particular event, but it seems that the “processing component” guaranteed a seat for you at the next event. I worry for your ability to function in the real world if you think having been removed from the guest list was something against you personally.

    1. prezbro says:

      @prezbro are you satire??? incepted.

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