In response to recent confusion over some technology policies, University Information Services and GUSA held a meeting Tuesday night to address student concerns about the new Personal Security Codes implemented this summer and recent trouble with Internet connections. David Lambert, chief information officer and vice president for UIS, also apologized for the lack of communication with students and the university that could have contributed to confusion.

“We want to make sure that the students of Georgetown have an opportunity to have access to as good a technology environment as we can possibly make it,” Lambert said. “The last thing in the world we want to do is lose track in any way of the fact that you are why we’re here.”

According to Lambert, the PSC system was instituted this year because the university renegotiated its contract over the summer with its long-distance service provider.

Lambert said a lack of dialogue between students and UIS led to an inadequate explanation of the reasons for the codes.

One student asked the UIS staff, “Why do I have to punch in my code just to call Domino’s?”

The codes are necessary for all calls because they are “a security measure to help us eliminate fraud,” Lambert said. All administrative phone extensions are linked to a certain department when there are charges, but no such system existed for students. When dialing out from a university extension, the university’s main number is the one sent to caller identification services, he said.

According to Lambert, this became an issue when students dialed toll-free or local numbers that switched over to toll numbers mid-call. Since the university’s main number is the one identified as the caller, Lambert said the charges appear directly on its telephone bill and it has to pay for these calls.

“This is not a censorship issue,” Lambert said. He estimated that the university lost between $30,000 to $35,000 in fraudulent calls per year. The staff also reaffirmed that students don’t need the code to dial 911.

The other issue at the meeting was the question of the university’s Internet capacity, technically referred to as bandwidth.

In the past few years, Georgetown has increased its bandwidth by 80 percent, according to Chris Peabody, the associate director of network and computing systems.

According to Peabody, eight hours after students returned to campus, “our network traffic reached 100 percent.”

To control the long-term bandwidth problems with peer-to-peer programs, UIS has started an experiment to restrict bandwidth by application.

After acknowledging their failure to adequately communicate the need for the new security codes, the UIS staff stressed the importance of continuing dialogue with university students.

Students will be essential in “the whole area of helping us and working with us through a process that I think is probably going to result in an almost complete overhaul of communications services,” Lambert said.

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