Edinburgh University is investigating after final-year students were sent an official-looking email telling them they will not be allowed to graduate this summer.
Undergraduates were left “anxious” and “panicked” after they received an email through their university accounts telling them they would not be allowed to attend their graduation ceremony and would receive “no award”, because “you are not expected to complete your studies until later in the year”.
The message also appeared on the university’s “portal”, a website used by students to submit coursework and receive marks.
The university, which says the incident was the result of a “system error”, has reassured students this morning that no graduation ceremonies have been cancelled.
A spokesperson for the university said: “Our preliminary investigation suggests that these emails were regrettably issued as a result of a system error.”
There was no breach of the institution’s systems and no student data was compromised, they said.
“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.”
It is thought that the message was sent to all fourth year students in the early hours of this morning (Thursday), with graduation ceremonies set to start at the university at the beginning of July.
Edinburgh student Miriam Lewis, who is at the end of her French and Russian Studies course, said that she “at least 20” of her friends from different courses had received the email.
“It was awful,” the 22-year-old told HuffPost UK.
“I woke up to that email and was so confused. University is not an easy time and all us fourth years have just completed many exams.
“To receive that when you have no idea what your final degree might be is just awful.”
She added that she felt “very disappointed” by the university’s slow response to the incident.
Other students took to Twitter to vent their frustrations and fears:
Edinburgh University, which teaches more than 37,000 students, is regularly ranked in the top 50 universities in the world.