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February 15, 1999            

Contact:
Philip Bransford, Assistant Director for Communications (503) 725-5717

Sources:
Marilyn Lanier, Associate Vice Chancellor for Administration (541) 346-5777
Shirley Clark
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (541) 346-5720

Public Universities On-Schedule for Y2K Readiness

EUGENE -- The high technology systems at Oregon's public universities will be well-prepared for the Millennium Bug, but the seven-campus Oregon University System will delay winter term 2000 by two days as an added precaution. That is the assessment University System administrators make in reports to be issued before the State Board of Higher Education this week.

"We are working hard to ensure that all vital services affecting the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and the public are protected," said Marilyn Lanier, the official monitoring each OUS campus's effort at Year 2000 readiness. "We are also pursuing the goal of making sure no mission-critical system fails due to Year 2000 date issues. By summer, we should have test results in every category to confirm our degree of readiness."

To allow extra flexibility for students and faculty after New Year's Day-in the event external or internal systems should falter due to unforeseen date-driven problems-OUS campuses plan to delay the start of winter term 2000 by two days. Winter term is now set to begin on Wednesday, January 5, 2000.

The University System considers student instruction, research and public service "mission-critical" functions. Core administrative information systems are also considered mission-critical, including student financial aid, human resources-payroll, telecommunications management, student and financial systems. To date all campuses are on schedule to complete all planned renovations and testing of mission-critical systems by summer 1999.

"Venders providing such vital services as electricity, water and gas are working in cooperation with campuses to ensure Y2K readiness. Although temporary outages cannot be ruled out, these venders are not expecting large-scale shutdowns," added Lanier. "No technology-using organization can guarantee 100 percent normalcy once the Year 2000 arrives, but we are making a concerted effort to identify and eliminate potential problems," said Lanier.

Oregon's public universities began preparing in earnest for the turn of the century in 1993 with the start of a project to replace its mainframe-based human resources system that calculated payroll and benefits for nearly 23,000 employees (faculty, staff and students). By 1996, clear areas of responsibility for the systemwide Year 2000 effort were established between the monitoring and oversight of the Chancellor's Office and the problem-resolution role of each university campus.

The computer glitch-also known as the Y2K problem-could affect any computer or microchip using a two-digit system for measuring years. Unprepared computer systems could malfunction as New Year's Day approaches because the internal calendars in these systems are likely to mistake the Year 2000 for the Year 1900.

The university campuses affected by the change in winter term scheduling in January 2000 are Eastern Oregon University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, Portland State University, Southern Oregon University, the University of Oregon and Western Oregon University.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a Year 2000 Readiness Disclosure pursuant to the Year 2000 Information & Readiness Disclosure Act, Public Law Number 105-271 (1998).

 

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