Students, faculty question Drexel partnership

By Shannon King
November 7, 2002

The $1 million a year partnership between Drexel University and Cabrini does not seem to be paying off, according to most faculty and students. In the first two months of the semester, the server has gone down numerous times causing headaches and added stress to the campus community.

Students are outraged by the fact that they cannot rely on Internet access when most teachers are now requiring homework to be emailed and often times, not accepting hard copies of assignments at all. In one instance, the Internet went down on a Friday afternoon and did not come back up until Monday morning after classes had already begun. Sophomore Kristy Jameson said, “It’s horrible. I couldn’t email my papers to my teachers and it was starting to affect my grades.”

Lauren Kupniewski, help desk coordinator, worked for Drexel for three years before joining the Cabrini team. “We are a small group over here,” she said. “We try our best to make sure that the problems are taken care of as soon as possible.”

Precautions are being taken to prevent the server from being down so long in the future. As of Oct. 16, John McIntyre, director of information technology and resources, indicated that the proxy server through which the Internet is accessed on campus had problems due to environmental issues that have now been addressed. He also noted that plans were in the works for a back-up server that would be invoked immediately if the server should ever fail.

The exact cause of the problem, however, is disputed among the campus community. Don Demp-sey, chair of the graphic design department, questions the size of the network itself and wonders if campus needs have grown too large for the network to handle. “I think that Drexel inherited network problems that already existed,” Dempsey said. “The graphic design department alone takes up a lot of network space.”

Music and video downloading in the dorms is also taking up a lot of network space. According to Kupniewski, the ITR department is looking into investing in software that can manage what part of the server is being used at what time to try to even out the usage.

Still some people have their doubts about the service that we are receiving. “Cabrini e-mail is useless. I used to use it last year, but I don’t use it anymore,” Jameson said. “I get messages extremely late and more than half of my messages never get sent. I get error messages back all the time.”

Kupniewski agreed that the e-mail problem is something that needs to be addressed, “Even at Drexel the e-mail issues are the same as we are facing here,” she said. “But I think we are a lot better off with Drexel. We wouldn’t be able to afford half of what we have without them.”

Students can also be reassured that is now possible for the campus server to be monitored from off-campus so that any problem can be corrected immediately.

Senior Internet computing major Jim McCrea, said, “The system is getting better, but the reliability of the network is still horrible. You never know when it’s going to go down.”

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Shannon King

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