Friday, April 18, 2008

April fools at Brown U

Inside Higher Ed has a great piece on an April Fool's joke pulled by a faculty member at Brown on his colleagues in the math department. He sent out an email letting folks know about a new admissions policy that the university would use, since the standard admissions criteria were not successfully predicting students' academic performance. They would admit 20% of students using a random selection process. As he quoted one administrator, “In the absence of any other good criterion, it seems fair to give the benevolent hand of chance a greater role in guiding the future of higher education.”

While he included a link that led to a website that said, "Happy April Fools Day," several of them failed to click on the link, relied solely on the note, and took it seriously. They of course began a conversation where they expressed their concerns, raised questions about the technicalities of it, and discussed whether the 20% threshold was appropriate.

I love this kind of prank. I wish I had pulled it myself. Ah, I will just have to live vicariously... until next year!

1 comment:

sherishu said...

I read this, too, and thought it was HILARIOUS. And pretty gutsy (I'm assuming the guy has tenure). I can totally see the arts and sciences listserve here lighting up after this e-mail. And since people here don't seem to notice the difference between "reply all" and "reply" the discussion would be even funnier with the addition of messages that people
MEANT as private.