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Alumni feel Athena accounts deactivated without warning

By Eva Moy

The last half of about 3200 Athena accounts, including a few belonging to current students, were deactivated this week, according to Carla J. Fermann '86, a consultant in Information Systems Computing Support Services. All students who are not currently registered according to the Registrar's office were deactivated, she said.

Several students expressed concern that the information in their accounts was lost. However, Fermann explained that the accounts have not been deleted and the information can still be accessed.

Most of the deactivated accounts belonged to last year's seniors and graduate students, Fermann said. Accounts not already deactivated are usually cleaned up after add date of the next fall, she said.

A small number of current students' accounts were also accidentally deactivated, Fermann said. These include students who have changed their names or identification numbers and graduate students working on theses but not taking classes, said Marc H. Horowitz '92, vice chairman of the Student Information Processing Board.

Students notified

of deactivation

Fermann said students were notified of changes in account eligibility requirements in Tech Talk last year. The message of the day, displayed to all users when they log in, also told people why and how to back up files, clean up accounts and remove one's self from mailing lists in preparation for losing an account, she said.

"We don't yet have a way to notify individuals," Fermann said, citing the large volume of electronic mail that would have to be sent.

Horowitz thought that IS "should have sent mail," stating that it would not be a problem to send that much mail over a system that can handle 100,000 messages per week. He thought some of the current trouble could have been avoided if students were simply notified by mail when their accounts would be deactivated.

A recent graduate who insisted on anonymity said, "It was reasonable, of course, to discontinue the accounts of those who were no longer registered students and did not have any other status which would entitle them to an account."

But the alumnus felt it was unreasonable not to notify students of the pending deactivation, because some of those entitled to keep their accounts also had to deal with losing electronic mail or being unable to access files. "I think they should have sent e-mail a couple of weeks in advance. That wouldn't have taken very much effort," he added.

Account recovery

may take only a day

Current students who have had their accounts deactivated can contact Athena User Accounts and will probably have access to their accounts within a day, Fermann said.

They can temporarily access their accounts in order to copy over information themselves, have their files sent on floppy disk or through a modem or make other such arrangements, Fermann said. "Things have been kind of hectic, so the response time may not have been as great [as it should be]," Fermann added.