April 18, 2003page 9 of 28

OUR VIEWS: Consensus Opinion

April 18, 2003


Recently, a Tech student managed to hack into the BuzzCard system, revealing some of the system's security flaws. This appears to be the latest in a string of security breaches of Tech's electronic systems, ranging from the Ferst Center's credit card records to Georgia Tech's payroll accounts.

In this instance, the student was apparently trying to help Tech, revealing these weakness before someone with less humanitarian motivations cracked the system. Instead of showing any interest in his findings, Tech ignored the situation, and the student is now facing criminal charges from Blackboard, the company the makes the system used by BuzzCard.

While Tech can do little to change federal law, it should run its own check of the security of the BuzzCard system, which would serve both to protect students' money and information and to keep Tech from being considered negligent if a hostile hacker should get into the system. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away.

Study abroad

Although it is disappointing that some of the study abroad programs had to be cancelled, the Tech administration made the right decision in cancelling the programs when they realized there was a significant and foreseeable threat to student's health.

The Office of International Education has also done an excellent job explaining these decisions and being flexible with students in many ways. Many students have commented that the refund policy has been more than fair, and that OIE has also been willing to allow students to transfer into other trips where there were openings, despite the fact that most deadlines passed long ago. This type of reasonable, tractable response should be an example for other departments to follow when unforeseeable circumstances force the cancellation of events or programs.

New majors

Although the new majors that Tech is establishing will help attract a diversity of students, Tech should make sure it has the resources to support these programs so these degrees will mean as much as the degrees that Tech already offers. Especially in terms of the School of Modern Languages, more money, more professors and more course offerings for current Tech students should be implemented before new programs are implemented.

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