Last year, during 2016-2017 housing sign-up, students were blocked out of their housing contracts due to "overwhelming traffic (error 503)." The average student was delayed 10-20 minutes and felt the situation was both stressful and unfair. Thankfully, at that point, we had an entire year to fix the problem so that it would not happen again.
However, on March 1st, 2017 at 12:00 AM, Oakland University's first phase of 2017-2018 housing registration opened up to thousands of students who would once again demand the essential service of on-campus housing. Unfortunately, not only did the system falter this year in a different way, but they were inoperable on average for an hour longer than last year. 20 minutes turned into 1 hour and 20 minutes, nervousness turned into exasperation, and excitement for housing turned into anxiety and frustration for students who stayed up all night to earn their housing spot in the normally fair first-come first-serve system.
This "overwhelming traffic (error 503)" problem happening for the second time in a row (even if not in the same way this time) not only jeopardizes the mental and physical well-being of some of our students who experience anxiety at 1:30 AM on a school night because they do not know if they will have a place to live even though they stayed up all night to register as soon as possible, but most definitely affects our external perception as a professional, competent institution. This external perception issue hinders our recruiting efforts as well, because prospective students and parents were also victims of the system error. If a student has to commute 2 hours because they did not get a spot, the chances that they attend the University are diminished.
There was a "faulty line of code" causing the problem, an issue that the private vendor we hire for this service did not catch. It was not, then, the University Housing's direct fault, but there IS action that should have been and NEEDS to be taken by the University.
1) The University hires and oversees the vendor (Aderondack) who creates and maintains the code, so there is definitely a need to review that vendor and their effectiveness
2) The University could provide more oversight by performing "test runs" with the vendor to avoid these issues proactively
3) The University should seek compassionate solutions for students who potentially have been displaced because of the error.
It is without a doubt true that Housing and the University cares about its students, and we all understand that human error is forgivable, but it is inexcusable so many residents and prospective residents to have their living situation thrown into jeopardy because of a second system error.
Therefore, I am signing this petition because I am a concerned or frustrated OU resident, OU student, or parent/guardian of an OU student, who was affected or knew someone affected by the system error for housing sign-ups, which has happened now two years in a row, even if in a different way this time. I stand with residents who may be displaced because of the system error, and support solutions that are compassionate to this population. Further, I insist that we pay full attention to resolving this issue immediately, so that a better solution can be found BEFORE next year, and so there is little to no chance of this unfair situation happening again.