ITS: Do we have a reason to complain?

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Yes, we do

By Ryan Haddox
Special to the Denisonian

Issues with the Information Technology Services (ITS) department at Denison have been widespread across this campus and need to be addressed. While talking with some upperclassmen, I hear that IT systems were worse in past years, but I find that hard to believe; admittedly, I do not have the slightest clue about the amount of work it actually requires running a server, especially one of the magnitude that Denison requires, yet it feels as though that is no excuse for the system to be so poor.

Attempting to operate an academically competitive university, such as Denison, necessitates a fully functional IT system. It has become far too common place for students to shrug off the errors in the system, with statements such as “Oh, well, the system is down again” ingrained in our vernacular.

A part from the recent IT blunder before the first day of classes this semester, I can think of dozens of times when internet service is an absolute necessity, yet it cannot be accessed on campus. With a transition toward online services for education such as the online language labs of the foreign languages department or the online homework services utilized by the mathematics and physics departments, Denison must make these IT issues a top concern.

It is hard to believe that a university with our endowment is unable to have a more efficient system. If our true mission is education then issues must be addressed and amended by any means necessary. If Denison fails to adhere to the request of a well-functioning IT system then it should be our duty as students to do our part. Other than simply complaining about how poor the system is, we should find out why the system is not up to part, and what can be done to amend it, or at the very least find the right people to complain to.

We should contact the DCGA or IT management and make our opinions heard. The administration must know that we came to this university for a superior education, and will not stand for an inferior IT system when technology is so integral to our goals here.

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No, we shouldn’t be complaining

By Matthew Pennekamp
Special to the Denisonian

I have found that I subscribe more and more to Benjamin Franklin’s belief that “constant complaint is the poorest sort of payment for all the comforts we enjoy.”

It seems to me that constant complaint about the small and occasional shortcomings of ITS is too often both this school’s credo and its anthem. Does our IT department flummox from time to time? Of course, it is inevitable that there will be intermittent kinks in a system designed to accommodate the Internet needs of so many people in a single location. But rather than lending further credence to this culture of bemoaning without resolving, there are several things one could do to remedy cyber-connection problems:

  1. Invest in an Ethernet cord, which are university-provided and free of charge.
  2. Find another location to complete one’s work. Our campus is compact, and the amount of locations besides the dorm room where one can successfully manage must number into the hundreds.
  3. As a worst-case scenario, students can always use the numerous computers readily available in the two service centers, the library, and practically every academic building.

Rather than bellyaching about the “poor job” being done by those whose screw-ups are far and in between, it pays to think critically about solutions to these problems. After all, is that not the purpose of a college education: to maneuver around our obstructions? I should hope so.

With that firmly in mind, I will close by mentioning the pointlessness of complaining if you do not intend to actively grapple with the problem. There is an age-old political adage that reads as follows: “Decisions are made by those who show up.” Whether or not an immaculately-functioning IT system is priority for Denison students is debatable. But we cannot complain idly, when we should be taking action. After all, blind complaint often stands in the way of fulfilling goals.

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