George Mason Passes the Y2K Test

Posted: January 27, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Darshana Patel

George Mason has joined the rest of the world in a smooth transition into the new century. The Y2K computer bug caused only a few minor problems; none of these problems affected university operations, and each was remedied quickly.

  • A few minor administrative system screen fields showed the wrong date.

  • Some users had problems printing personal calendars from GroupWise. Users who still have problems printing the GroupWise calendar can call the University Computing and Information Systems (UCIS) Support Center at x38870, and an analyst will help them install a patch that will correct the problem.

  • On Jan. 1, the All-University Card Office ID system software, written and maintained by an outside vendor, interpreted the date as 03/12/8639.

  • The Student Information System had problems printing the date of birth on ID cards. A person born in 1947 had information rejected because the date was considered to be later than the year 2000.

“Our detailed testing gave us a strong indication that business would continue unaffected by Y2K, so we did not have many staff assigned on New Year’s Eve,” says Ron Keister, Y2K project administrator, UCIS. “However, we did have a very detailed dispatch system worked out with University Police and Work Control so that any required staff could be on site within 30 minutes to address unanticipated problems. Fortunately, this was not needed.” There still may be some small problems identified when faculty members return, but UCIS staff will respond immediately to any problems that surface, he explains.

As part of the year 2000 rollover plan, UCIS has implemented a new Y2K service website where faculty and staff members can post Y2K-related alerts that may affect university information, systems, and applications. This website is maintained through the state’s Year 2000 Rollover Management Plan period, which goes through early March. For more information, contact Keister at or x33093.

It is beyond doubt that possible Y2K problems identified by experts from the start were not hype. And yet, it’s natural to wonder whether all the preventive maintenance was necessary. “This is a typical Catch-22 situation,” says Keith Segerson, executive director of UCIS. “I think the reason we’re not seeing anything too serious is because the entire industry worked together to address the issue. Having worked through this problem successfully, today we are better organized and well equipped to handle any similar problem in the future. At George Mason, the expenditure involved to avert the Y2K problem was well spent.”

Thankfully, we will never know what might have happened without preparation and planning. It is clear that the Y2K bug has been squashed. This achievement calls for a vote of thanks for all those UCIS staffers and departmental Y2K coordinators who averted a possible catastrophe!

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