Editorials

UC Irvine could use a lesson in class — from Cal Poly

Freshman Oded Tzori, a mechanical engineering major, and his mom Dorit Tzori, on Cal Poly move-in day, 2016.
Freshman Oded Tzori, a mechanical engineering major, and his mom Dorit Tzori, on Cal Poly move-in day, 2016. ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

We’re delivering a more-the-merrier bouquet to Cal Poly, which estimates it will have 1,000 to 1,200 more students than expected this fall. (Sorry about that, Residents for Quality Neighborhoods.)

Here’s what happened: Every year, universities anticipate that a certain number of students will decline their invites. It’s a bit like hosting a wedding or a birthday party: You know some invitees aren’t going to show.

But—oops!—more incoming freshmen are saying “yes” to Cal Poly this year. On top of that, more already enrolled students are opting to stay.

“What happened to us, in the simplest terms, is this year, we are a victim of success,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong. Because what president can resist the opportunity to brag?

But here’s what makes us really proud: At least Cal Poly had the good grace to welcome all these newly minted Mustangs, which is a lot more than we can say for UC Irvine (more on that in a bit.)

Poly is bringing in 1,000 more beds to accommodate the ginormous freshman class (ginromous may be overstating it, but there will be an estimated 5,000-5,200 freshmen, compared to 4,341 last fall.) This mean some Poly dorm rooms will have a little less elbow room, but it’s all good, right — sort of like squeezing in an extra place setting or two when unexpected guests show up for dinner. The portions may be skimpier, but there’s bound to be more laughs.

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Now, about UC Irvine. Like Cal Poly, it, too had an unexpectedly large number of freshmen opt to enroll, but it handled the problem differently: It decided to disinvite 499 of them.

UC Irvine officials insisted they had good cause to do so: Students had failed to keep up their grades during their last semester of high school, or they had neglected to get their transcripts in on time. So instead of going off to college, the students got to enroll in the school of hard knocks—for free!

(Cal Poly rescinded 227 acceptances — around the same number as usual, according to spokesman Matt Lazier.)

For all its protestations of innocence, UC Irvine later apologized and agreed to readmit most of the students whose acceptances had been yanked. There’s been no word on how many extra beds the university will be hauling in to accommodate its influx of Anteaters, but we do know how many brickbats UC Irvine administrators can expect: 499, along with a copy of “Emily Post’s Etiquette-Manners for a New World.”

Bouquets and brickbats appear periodically in The Tribune. If there’s something (or someone) you would like to honor with a bouquet or chastise with a brickbat, email your idea to sfinucane@thetribunenews.com.

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