Luther college tells students to leave campus for Y2k : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Luther College tells students to leave campus for Y2K

Updated 12:00 PM ET December 2, 1999

By Nathan Gerth & Laura Roirdan Chips Luther College

(U-WIRE) DECORAN, Iowa -- Y2K is a complex issue involving all computer based systems. Luther College has simple advice for students in response to possible millennium bug disruptions -- stay off campus.

"We do not anticipate any major problems," said Bob Felde, associate dean for student life.

"At the same time we can't plan for the unpredictable, so we are strongly encouraging students to stay away from campus."

The Y2K bug stems from the code computers use in order to keep track of dates.

Programmers saved expensive memory space by putting together a two digit code instead of a four digit code. For example, the year 1999 is read as 99 by the computer.

It is speculated that problems will occur when computers roll over from 99 to 00, at the turn of the century.

Systems that rely on the calendar progression of time, such as power grids and bank accounts, may not know how to react to the change from 99 to 00.

No one is certain what will happen.

According to the Red Cross, groups heavily dependent on Y2K-susceptible main frame computers, like banks, governments, and corporations, have been working to resolve the bug, making a great deal of progress.

This optimistic view is reflected in Luther's Y2K contingencies.

Luther's policy rests on the belief that possible problems are remote and are beyond the college's control.

"Currently we are viewing this as an external issue, meaning the loss of services supplied to Luther by outside vendors," said Eric Braun, director of residence life.

"For instance, the possibility of power failure."

According to Alliant Energy, the utility who supplies Luther with electricity, they are certified as "Y2K ready" by the North American Electric Reliability Council.

However, Alliant also admits it cannot guarantee the readiness of every system of every supplier they receive power from.

According to Felde the college has not purchased any back-up generators. Instead, it has chosen to purchase firewood.

This firewood will be used to heat Brunsdale lounge in the event of a power outage.

"If the heat goes out I will be there building a fire," said Braun.

Other precautions will be taken to ensure radiators do not rupture and food does not spoil in the cafeteria's walk-in coolers.

Y2K problems overseas could also affect Luther students.

International students may experience difficulty accessing money and traveling.

Due to this possibility, the college is encouraging international students to pay second semester fees (or have money in US banks) prior to Jan. 1.

Students planning to study abroad should also anticipate Y2K problems.

Faculty and students should look into airline schedules, reservation systems, the ability to make credit card payments, and general foreign financial institution preparedness.

Luther College does not see long term Y2K difficulties as likely.

"We are viewing this as a short term issue," said Braun. "Our current contingencies do not extend beyond a few days."

Felde describes Luther's long term Y2K plans as a "waiting game."

The college's Y2K contingency states that students should call 319-387-1732 before they return to campus.

A recorded message at this number will inform students of the college's status.

If they can't get through they are encouraged not to leave until they can.

"We want students to be ready," said Braun.

"At the same time we don'twant them to overreact."

However, no one will know until midnight Dec. 31 how serious anyone should regard the Y2K bug.

"All anyone can do now is prepare and wait," said Braun.

(C) 1999 Chips via U-WIRE

-- Homer Beanfang (, December 03, 1999


Homer, I just wanted to thank you for such consistently good posts. Please keep up the good work.

-- Richard Greene (, December 03, 1999.

truly you are the antithesis of Norm.

-- zoobie (, December 04, 1999.

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