Software glitch purges spring classes


Due to a software error that occurred after the Dec. 19 midnight tuition payment deadline, university officials were scrambling Thursday morning to fix the glitch which purged all spring classes and sent automated email notifications to students stating their courses were dropped for non-payment.



With new registration policies put into effect this year, students had to pay spring tuition by Dec. 19 at midnight, otherwise their classes would be dropped for non-payment. The deadline passed, but not without a major hiccup.



“After midnight, there’s a process that marks people in the system who are not supposed to be purged before the purge takes place,” said Ray Walker, associate vice president of information technology. “Because of an error with the Oracle software, a thing called a ‘table lock’ which is not supposed to happen, that program failed and the process didn’t complete, so the process ran and purged almost every student.”



Only about 800 students were not purged from their classes, before a lock in the system occurred.



A notification was put up on the UVLink login page and an email was sent out advising students not to panic because of the dropped classes, ensuring their spring schedules would be restored.



“My first reaction was, ‘what? They dropped my classes? How can they do that? I paid,’” said Amy Rose, a deaf studies major. “Then after I read the emails, I realized it happened to everyone, not just me.”



Walker said all classes are now updated again for students and they are moving forward with completing the purge process a second time.



“We’re in the process of re-running the process to purge those students that were supposed to be purged. By early afternoon, everything should be back to the way it was supposed to be,” said Walker.



Between 500 to 1,000 students are expected to be purged this spring for non-payment.

9 Responses to "Software glitch purges spring classes"

  1. Jake   December 21, 2012 at 12:55 am

    UVU’s software and website is always down. The school itself is a dump. I was happy to transfer to another University.

  2. Steve D   December 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Oh please tell me you don’t run that picture of the monstrosity with the smokestacks and the threatening clouds all the time. Post-Apocalypse U.

  3. Shea   December 26, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    “a thing called a ‘table lock’…” eh?

    Try hiring “a thing called a ‘professional DBA'”.

    This is proof that too many think they can perform professional level IT tasks. I’m a networking expert, and no, that does not mean I plugged in one wireless router at home.

  4. Nicholas Maietta   December 26, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Seems like they are doing this in a way that isn’t a good way at all.

    I deal with large databases all the time where business decisions are made based on that data. No problem on my end, because everything is pooled into reports and that audited before they go to the next step.

    Someone correct me if i am wrong, but there should be no trust placed on “table locking”, it’s an old concept that is still used today. Sounds to me like they thought they could use the transitional features meant for one-at-a-time database changes. Instead, they chose to design the db and scripts to generate lists and then lock the tables, purging records on what is thought to be locked tables.

    Not good.

  5. Michael   December 27, 2012 at 6:46 am

    Whoever designed the purge job to run without checking if the first job ran successfully is a moron. Also, designing a system to be fail safe rather than fail catastrophe is generally a good idea. (i.e. Flag non-paid students)

  6. JD   December 27, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Don’t think I want my Comp Sci degree from there.

  7. Tom   December 27, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Wait a minute – they said:

    Because of an error with the Oracle software, a thing called a ‘table lock’ which is not supposed to happen, that program failed and the process didn’t complete, so the process ran and purged almost every student.”

    How is the fact that THEIR software didn’t handle an error (table locks are not only allowed, they exist on purpose in Oracle) in THEIR software an Oracle error?

    I don’t get it – their programmers software received an error condition. Their programmers software ignored this error condition. Their programmers code then proceeded to drop everyone from class.

    It is THEIR bug, not a database bug.

  8. Tom   January 4, 2013 at 7:24 am

    why do we bother posting comments if they never get published??????????????????????????????

  9. Keteki   May 21, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Thanks for the valuable information. Thanks once again


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