At 12:01am on Thursday, May 17th, California State University Stanislaus students gained yet another reason to put university officials under fire. Due to a change in the registration process, students attempting to register for the Fall 2012 semester were denied access to the university’s registration system because of a computer server failure.
The university sent out a school-wide email to students on May 2nd, informing the students of the new “two-pass registration process” being adopted for Fall 2012.
According to Enrollment Services, the intent of the two-pass registration was to allow opportunity for all students to strategically choose their initial courses during priority registration.
The first pass registration was by appointment only for all eligible continuing students, up to 10 units, from May 7-16.
The second pass registration occurred on May 17th, and was an open registration for all continuing students.
Students immediately noted the possible problems with the two-pass registration process being adopted by the university. One of the main concerns amongst students was the amount of activity the website would experience on the 17th could result in a system-wide crash of the server. Other students shared concerns that an open registration date for all class levels on the same date was unfair to seniors, as there would be a possibility of lower-division students taking the upper-division spots in classes they would need for graduation requirements.
With final examinations currently taking place at the university, students are putting in hours of studying and writing. Students typically experience high levels of stress during this period of the semester, and many students claimed the change in the registration process only added to their stress.
When the system crashed at midnight, with many students staying awake in order to ensure their spot in required classes, students reported trying to contact the university regarding the problem. These attempts to contact the university were unsuccessful, and many students stayed up until nearly 4am, when the system came back online.
Angry students shared their frustrations with the university via the university’s Facebook page.
“My friends and I were talking weeks ago about this,” wrote Edward van Heiningen. “Even then we knew the system would crash. It definitely needs to be a 12 units first pass and definitely should NOT have the second pass begin the night before finals start… not really happy about this.”
While some students asked the university to dump the two-pass registration system altogether, others simply asked that the first registration date allow 12 units, instead of the allotted 10, as 12 units would ensure full time student status.
CSU Stanislaus communication officials replied to this request, stating, “Thanks for the very positive suggestions. Please know that 12 versus 10 units in first pass was a deep topic of discussion, which we plan to reopen.”
CSU Stanislaus also reported that the “hoarding” of classes in previous years by students was interfering with students to ensure their spot in classes, and this was taken into consideration as a reason behind switching to the two-pass registration process.
“Yes, ‘hoarding’ of classes was a huge issue that was impeding the ability of many CSU Stanislaus students to get their classes. That’s why we joined the roughly 50 percent of CSU campuses using a two-pass system,” stated CSU Stanislaus.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs James Strong wrote a message to the CSUS students to share the university’s understanding of student dissatisfaction with the new system.
“As you are aware, the primary enrollment period ended and open enrollment for the Fall 2012 semester began at 12:01am. Many of you had a stressful experience as the registration portal became unresponsive and eventually crashed overnight,” stated Strong. “The system was back up by early this morning and is currently active. If you had difficulty registering, please try again.”
Strong also said, “I wish there was a simple method to make things right. The failure occurred at the data center that serves all the CSU campuses, and manages registration for campuses much larger than ours.”
Although some students expressed appreciation of the message, others still expressed sentiments of frustration with the university, some even expressing the desire to transfer to a new university. While freshmen and sophomores may not be too negatively affected by the system crash, juniors and seniors shared concerns about having to take an extra semester at Stanislaus due to the crash and unavailability of classes required for graduation, and how this mix-up could potentially hurt those receiving financial aid.
“So the government only helps us pay ONLY four years of our education in college…& due to ‘mistakes’ like this it is going to cause many of us at least an extra semester if not a year due to the school lack of class offering throughout both semesters and for their "experiments" upon us,” wrote Mayra Alejandre. “…. Now my question is CSU Stanislaus going to provide us some financial aid for what your mistakes have caused???”
“We will examine all the mitigating factors to improve your experience and restore your confidence,” stated Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs James Strong. Whether or not students will accept the university’s apology, however, is still questionable.
For more information regarding the system failure, the university and student opinions on the issue, please visit:
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