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University of Tennessee Faculty Demands Computer System Improvements


University of Tennessee professors, frustrated by e-mail outages and Internet security concerns, are demanding improvements in the university’s computer system.

The UT Faculty Senate passed a resolution last week directed at UT President John Petersen citing a “lack of confidence in the management” of UT’s information technology resources.

“It is being addressed, and we anticipate being able to share the solutions very soon,” said Hank Dye, UT vice president for public and governmental relations.

Experts from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is jointly managed by UT, are completing a “broad and deep” study of UT’s interconnected five-campus IT system, Dye said.

Another study in the spring put most of the blame for “operational problems” on management and the lack of chief information officer. The $6,500 study was commissioned by UT-Knoxville. One of two consultants on the report works for Colorado State University, where UT-Knoxville Chancellor Loren Crabtree was provost before coming to UT.

Lou Gross, the past president of the UT Faculty Senate, sent several letters this year to Petersen citing a delay in turning over IT operations to UT-Knoxville, problems with policies regarding encryption of Social Security numbers and an e-mail outage during final exam week in May.

Gregory Reed, UT associate vice chancellor for research, has said continuing server problems are jeopardizing database access and drafting research proposals and contracts that are critical to UT’s $207 million in research programs annually.

Two years ago, UT inadvertently posted the names and Social Security numbers of some 1,900 students and employees on the Internet. Last year, a hacker broke into a UT computer containing names, addresses and Social Security numbers of about 36,000 past and present employees, but UT officials said they doubted the data was used.

Information from: The Knoxville News Sentinel,

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