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Campus ready for Y2K glitch

Programs, plans compliant for end of century, officials say

by Sally Claunch
The Shorthorn staff

The university is Y2K compliant and contingency plans are in place to address any problems that arise from the date change of Dec. 31, 1999, to Jan. 1, 2000, university officials say.

Bill Coats, the director of compliance programs, said the university is ready for the new century.

"We've had meetings after meetings after meetings," he said. "We're ready."

Coats, who is also assistant to the senior vice president for finance and administration, said the Y2K problem shouldn't affect classes during the winter break, but students can call the weather emergency line at (972) 601-2049 to see if classes are canceled.


• What: Help for Y2K-related computer problems at the university

• When: Dec. 30 to Jan. 3

• Where: B6 Davis Hall, or call the Information and Technology Office at (817) 272-7335

Dan Williams, senior vice president for finance and administration, met with members of the Business Continuity Planning Project on Thursday and made final adjustments to the plans. The university project is dedicated to working on contingency plans for any type of system failure because of the date change. Such failures could include electricity outages, water outages and telephone service interruption, he said.

Williams is confident, however, that the contingency plans will be more than adequate to address any problems.

"We're ready," he said. "We're over-ready. I'm thinking about all the reports we'll have to file with them (UT Systems) explaining that nothing happened."

Chauncey Jackson, year 2000 project coordinator, said the Y2K glitch is a big problem because it affects many date-sensitive computer systems.

He explained that when the date changes from 1999 to 2000, many systems will experience problems because they interpret the date as '99. These systems do not have a protocol in place for the year 2000.

Because most systems have a two-digit field for dates, they will assume that the '00 in 2000 is smaller than 1999, not larger. The date can cause problems in computers that have not been upgraded to deal with the year 2000.

University officials have been working on compliance since 1996 and say the university is 100 percent Y2K compliant.

"We've fixed everything, we've tested everything," said Jackson. "We're where we're supposed to be. But reality suggests there will be some nuisance management."

Jackson and project workers will be on campus during the date change so the university can handle any nuisances that occur and be ready for business as usual by Jan. 3.

All computer systems will be operational during the century rollover. Beginning Dec. 30, the Information and Technology Office will be on duty to ensure the continuity of computing services.

From Dec. 31 until Jan. 3, the office will man a customer response center in B65 Davis Hall for computers.

On Jan. 1, the office will verify computing services in various areas and will take action should any service fail.

Jan. 1 and 2, desktop support will be available for faculty and staff, and departments will have online access. The office can be reached at (817) 272-7335 to report any computer- or network-related problems.

Additional desktop support can also be reached at (817) 272-3890 in Academic Computing Services.

"We've virtually identified everything that could be a problem, especially with mission critical systems," Jackson said.

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