Volume 93, Issue 55

Tuesday, December 7, 1999


McMaster TAs hit the picket lines

HIV virus linked to smallpox

Remembering the Montreal Massacre

Staff prepares for Y2K problems on campus

Nipissing helps keep faculty and staff standing tall

Streaker still strutting his stuff

Staff prepares for Y2K problems on campus

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

With only 24 days left until the Y2K bug is set to bite, Western officials are planning for a potential swarm of difficulties on campus.

The problem, rooted in computers possibly reading the year 2000 as 1900, could make computer programs and electrical systems go haywire, posing a potentially disastrous situation, said Orlando Zamprogna, special projects co-ordinator for Western's physical plant.

Zamprogna said a team consisting of various faculty experts has worked for close to a year in an effort to avoid any possible difficulties.

Western's best case scenario would see no disruptions come midnight on Dec. 31, Zamprogna said, but the worst case would include power interruptions throughout the entire campus, effectively paralyzing operations. "In that case, there would be substantial difficulties keeping systems running and buildings warm," he said.Western's VP-administration, Peter Mercer, said if the university's communication system breaks down, Western would seek other venues to inform students of the status of scheduled classes, such as advertisements in The Globe and Mail.

Mercer added other sources of information, including the university web site and main phone line, would provide answers to students' questions.

Zamprogna added classes are not set to resume until Jan. 10 to allow ample time for any potential Y2K problems to be solved.

He added London Hydro, Western's power provider, has given its assurance the rollover would go smoothly. "They're assuring us the situation should be normal, but I'd underline the word 'should,'" he said.

London Hydro has been working on the potentially disastrous problem for close to three years, said Henry Westbrook, head of the power provider's Y2K team.

Westbrook said precautionary measures, such as extra staff and service representatives, were on alert at London Hydro, but he added he was not overly concerned about the Dec. 31 deadline.

Insp. Bob Earle of the University Police Department said a breakdown in communications has already been anticipated by the UPD. "Our communications centre is backed up by generated power," Earle explained.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999