Campuses take innovative approach to disaster planning

Servers could take weeks to repair and replace after an earthquake.

West Coast higher-education technology leaders begrudgingly admit it: An earthquake wouldn’t be a temporary inconvenience—a bad trembler could knock out IT infrastructure for weeks, unless the school has a partner.

IT officials from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., and Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., announced May 16 that they would host backup computer equipment for their partner school, allowing either campus to access student, faculty, and course information in hours rather than weeks.

Research universities and state schools often have similar backup arrangements in place with other state colleges and universities. These institutions store each other’s data on backup servers hundreds of miles from campus, ensuring that a school can operate in the aftermath of a natural disaster.…Read More

Immigrant worker firings unsettle a college campus

The dining hall workers had been at Pomona College for years, some even decades. For a few, it was the only job they had held since moving to the United States, the New York Times reports. Then late last year, administrators at the college delivered letters to dozens of the longtime employees asking them to show proof of legal residency, saying that an internal review had turned up problems in their files. Seventeen workers could not produce documents showing that they were legally able to work in the United States. So on Dec. 2, they lost their jobs. Now, the campus is deep into a consuming debate over what it means to be a college with liberal ideals, with some students, faculty and alumni accusing the administration and the board of directors of betraying the college’s ideals. The renewed discussion over immigration and low-wage workers has animated class discussions, late-night dorm conversations and furious back and forth on alumni e-mail lists. Some alumni are now refusing to donate to the college, while some students are considering discouraging prospective freshmen from enrolling…

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