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Registrar experiences limited enrollment computer glitch

More than a week after course cards were mailed to students, the Registrar reported in a campus-wide e-mail Saturday that an estimated 100 limited enrollment bids may have been lost because of a computer glitch.

Students who bid points on a limited enrollment course and were not admitted may have been affected by the glitch. Students who have been admitted to limited enrollment classes or placed on waiting lists — even if they bid unsuccessfully for additional courses — were registered by the server.


"Anybody who bid and the bids were accepted, we know their bids were recorded," Acting Registrar Joseph Greenberg said in an interview yesterday.


Students who believe they may have been affected by the glitch should see a staff member in the Registrar's office, Greenberg said. Those whose bids were compromised should complete a Limited Enrollment Information Form and return it to the Registrar's office by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

While the Registrar's office can distinguish between students whose bids were and were not counted, it cannot differentiate between students whose bids were lost and those who never signed up.

Greenberg said he is not especially worried that students who missed the original limited enrollment deadline might try to take advantage of the problem. "We're relying on the integrity of the students," he said.

Because many limited enrollment classes were filled to capacity before the glitch was discovered, the Registrar's office has been working with individual departments to try to make room for additional students in some closed courses.

"We've been working out procedures with the departments," Greenberg explained. "We can basically give priority to the students who would have had priority."


He added that students should allow the Registrar's office to act as an intermediary and refrain from approaching the departments directly. "It seems a lot simpler to work with the departments rather than to have the individual students going up to the departments," he said.

Greenberg said he is hopeful no students will have to be bumped from the filled classes to make room for concentrators, who receive priority in departmental limited enrollment classes. "There is usually a certain amount of melt," he said, explaining that students sometimes opt not to take limited enrollment classes for which they have signed up. "Limited enrollment numbers represent a sort of high point."

The computer hardware error occurred when the campus CGI server became over-tasked, causing the server to ignore some of the bids. "My understanding is that the computer basically can be filled — the buffer can be filled — in which case the data can't be stored," Greenberg said.

Greenberg said the Registrar's office hopes to prevent future mishaps by transferring the registration of limited enrollment bids to its own server. He added that the office had been prepared to make the switch before this semester's limited enrollment draw, but decided to hold off to make sure all possible problems had been eliminated.

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"We decided that we would be conservative and wait," he said. "Sometimes things happen."