Senate considers IT issues

Posted by Kat Kullman

Tuesday, Nov. 9, the Senate of the Student Government Association met with Justin Sipher, the Chief Technology Officer of Information Technology, to discuss the most common technological problems students experience on campus.

Sipher spoke primarily about the issues with the new wireless Internet in the residence halls. After renewing their contract with Time Warner Cable last year, the college decided to create a wireless system for the residence halls.

While the college planned to have the wireless Internet ready by the end of August, students are still experiencing problems with the new Internet system.

"Many people enabled personal wireless ports, which was fine when our wireless wasn't working. But now they may be interfering with our wireless. We also know that our service isn't the strongest. Tower is so high, and some of the materials used to build Northwoods make it hard to get a signal," Sipher said.

"We did a test recently where everyone in Wiecking at 9 a.m. turned off their personal WiFi systems and as a consequence the school wireless improved dramatically," Sipher said. IT plans to do two more tests, one in Northwoods and one on the 10th floor of Jonsson Tower,

One of the Senators attributed the campus's frustration with the inconsistent wireless at the start of the year came to a lack of information and communication between IT and the students.

"We love advice on how best to reach students. But we want to always wait a bit until we're sure we're not telling people the wrong thing. What you haven't seen in results doesn't mean we're not doing anything. Most of the progress has been behind-the-scenes. We're asking you to bear with us," Sipher said.

Sipher also spoke to Senate about potentially installing a new e-mail web browser for the school.

Upon installment, IT would transfer students' old mail into the new system, however IT is uncertain how long it would take for the new mail to catch up with the old.

Sipher initially insinuated that the transfer would be done during the school year. "We thought doing something while you were away would be worse because you're farther from support," Sipher said.

The Senate disagreed, however, preferring for the switch to occur over a break when academics were not a concern.

Sipher noted the Senate's request and said that any student with a technology problem should go to the IT Help Desk on the first floor of the library.

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