Tech outages at several universities raise student concerns

Kloe Witt, Breaking News Editor

Multiple universities across Louisiana, are experiencing extended internet outages as well as possible cyber threats at Southeastern Louisiana University, according to several statements from Southeastern Louisiana University, Louisiana State University, and Tulane University.

Along with the nearly six-day disruption at Southeastern, university officials said in an email to students that they learned about a “potential incident” with their network, prompting them to purposefully shut down the network as a precaution.

“The university is working to restore systems to normal operations as quickly and safely as possible,” the email read. “We also reported the incident to the Louisiana State Police, which is conducting an investigation into this matter.”

Biology freshman at Southeastern Emma Grace Condon said she noticed the problems when she couldn’t log in to complete homework assignments over the weekend, but she soon realized the issues were much larger.

“I heard people couldn’t get into their dorms because their IDs weren’t working, and there’s not really any service at school, so you can’t send any text, classes are getting canceled, and I heard that some people are seeing unfamiliar charges on their bank account,” Condon said.

Condon further said that the university did not email students until Monday night. She said before then, the university shared no information.

“It has me really confused,” Condon said. “It feels like they’re not taking care of us as students.”

Since Southeastern’s systems went down, students from several other universities in the area have said they are beginning to see WiFi and website-related issues, including Louisiana State University, Dillard, and Tulane, according to students from the various campuses.

Bianca Caro, a senior political science major at LSU, said she was working at her campus library at 1 p.m. on Monday when she noticed all her bosses leaving to work from home due to the outage. Students began flocking to her desk within 15 minutes, she said, asking why the WiFi was down and why they couldn’t log in to LSU Moodle, the platform the university uses for classrooms both on and off campus.

“I started thinking about it like this is going to set back a lot of people’s schedules, with spring break around the corner,” Caro said. “So long term, this isn’t going to be good if it doesn’t get fixed.”

According to Caro, the WiFi at LSU has been known to go out from time to time, but usually, it only lasts an hour. Even after a while, Caro said she still hadn’t heard anything from LSU about the issue.

“Part of me was kind of just thinking that it’s just a regular issue, but now that it’s happening to so many universities, I’m kind of surprised they haven’t put anything out,” Caro said.

Caro further said it’s terrifying to think about a potential threat to their student accounts.

“If that person who is going in and hacking them [Southeastern] is going to do that to all the universities, that’s really scary,” Caro said.

Around 2 p.m. on Monday, LSU IT Services posted on Twitter that they were working on resolving the issue, however, as of Tuesday morning, students have reported that the WiFi is still out.

No contact was available for Tulane or Dillard at this time.