Housing addresses sign-up issues at RHA meeting

Cheyanne Kramer, Web Editor

James Zentmeyer, director of Oakland University Housing, spoke during the Residence Hall Association meeting on March 2, the day after returner sign-up and the coding error.

“It was a very clear problem in less than five minutes that there was something very, very wrong with the system,” Zentmeyer said. “UTS [University Technology Services] was monitoring. University Housing’s IT was monitoring. I was up monitoring. Kelly Garnett, who does our communications and marketing, was monitoring, as well as responding to things on Twitter and Facebook.”

Contrary to this statement, there were no responses to the panicked comments on the Oakland University Housing Facebook page until noon on March 1, twelve hours after returner sign-up began.

Just before 11 a.m. March 1, Housing posted the following as response to a comment:

“We . . . did not want to provide inaccurate information just to avoid delays in responding – we certainly were not trying to avoid all of you!”

Zentmeyer said the system used for Housing sign-up is the same one used at other universities, such as Grand Valley State University. During sign-up, the software sought out a student photo thanks to one single line of code.

Since OU Housing does not use photo IDs, the system continued to look for one and caught individuals in an endless loop. This caused a backup of students to clog the system.

The error was caught about an hour and a half after returner sign-up opened. Some people were able to get through early, some were delayed, and some were kicked out of the program.

“We reviewed all sorts of options, everywhere from not doing anything to doing a complete and utter do-over, and all of the different options in-between,” Zentmeyer said.

During the RHA meeting, Zentmeyer announced that priority numbers would be issued according to when the student logged into the system. By March 7, upperclassmen students eligible to live in the apartments were able to see the “updated” time at which they submitted their contracts.

Thanks to the data pulled from the website, Housing could see whenever a student made an attempt to get into the contract or even refreshed the page, even if they tried getting in before midnight on March 1.

RHA meetings are held in lobby of Oak View Hall every Thursday at 7 p.m. Students can join committees ranging from a Chartwells committee to organizing the “Grizz Games” held at the start of each meeting.