Many students and staff were unable to log in to their university IT accounts last week, prompting the university to delay academic deadlines.
Staff went home early, and students were left unable to access saved files and hook up to the University Wi-Fi, as assessment deadlines on Thursday 5 and Friday 6 November were extended until the following Monday. When The Badger rushed amid the meltdown to Shawcross, one ITS employee said that the crash was due to the University recruiting record numbers of students. The Shawcross staff member claimed that an “influx of students” had led to difficulties in the system. The Director of ITS Services, Paul Davies, apologised to students for the disruption.
Since the disruption, which led to the University hiring “specialists” to assist ITS staff, students have regained access to their accounts. “Specialists, working with IT Services, have been working hard to restore the service to normal. On Friday (6 November) these specialist technicians worked with ITS staff to install updates which were designed to fix the problems experienced on the campus over the last week.” However, the University did not mention the number of students on campus being a cause of the problems, stating that “current software is more than capable of supporting any predicted growth in student numbers.”
“The disruptions to the IT system this term have been caused by issues associated with our staff and student file system, used to store personal and team files,” a University spokesperson told The Badger. “During a routine upgrade to the system during August, a series of unexpected issues with the file systems were identified. “Although the impact to users have been very similar, the underlying causes within the system have been different and none of the issues could have been anticipated in advance.” The statement continued: “We are sorry for the IT disruption that has been caused around campus over the past few weeks. I understand that having good, consistent access to files and IT usability is vital to staff and students. “IT Services has been working extremely hard through evenings and weekend to rectify the issues that have been experienced by some users. I have also been working closely with our suppliers to put in place steps to ensure that these issues do not happen again in the future.”