This week, we have compiled the most important stories from the decade pertaining to building projects, information technology (IT), safety and security, and health and wellness at the College. We have pulled a selection of actual headlines from former issues, and condensed and synthesized stories relevant to each headline in order to showcase some of the most significant moments and enduring issues covered by the Orient. While our compilation is comprehensive, it is by no means complete. We encourage readers to pursue these headlines and others in our online archives, and to read our future installments of this series over the next several weeks.
Topics to come: Student affairs and campus life, college finances, admissions and reputation, environment and service, athletics, and Maine and Brunswick issues.
RIAA cracks down on music piracy, September 12, 2003
The first half of the decade was buzzing with illegal Internet activity at the College, as Bowdoin students discovered—and were disciplined for—music piracy. Over the years, illegal file sharing on the Internet has caused problems for the College, Information Technology and students alike.
In February of 2001, the Student Computing Committee (SCC) announced that student use of Napster was essentially eating all of Bowdoin's bandwidth, as other computers around the world requested files and downloaded songs from computers on the network. At the time, the chair of the SCC said, "Whether you believe Napster violates copyright or not, there's a technical problem to deal with."
In October of 2001, students began to feel the repercussions of illegally downloading songs. Computing and Information Services disabled the campus Ethernet ports of seven students after being contacted on behalf of Sony Music Entertainment, Inc.
A company monitoring file-sharing networks, NetPD, emailed CIS and cited the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, requesting that the appropriate files be deleted or that access to the site or infringing files be deleted. Given Bowdoin's legal status as an online service provider (OSP) in the act, the College had "specific obligations" to stop or prevent copyright infringement when requested.
In response, the College amended its policy to handle online copyright infringement allegations. Students were given two business days to delete infringing files before their Internet access would be denied, though there was no verification process to ensure the material was removed. The Orient reported that Bowdoin's standards were more relaxed than those at Colby or Bates.
Later, in September of 2003, the Orient reported that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) was cracking down on music piracy, bringing 261 lawsuits against online pirates, though none were against Bowdoin students.
By December, the RIAA was pressuring the Bowdoin administration and other colleges to crack down on illegal file sharing. Chief Information Officer Mitch Davis said he received "three or four" notices of copyright infringement every day at the time.
In response, the College adopted a stricter policy against illegal downloading online, passing online piracy issues over to the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs to contact students and follow up. Repeated offenses would also remove students' internet access.
A January 25, 2008 Orient article reported that 11 Bowdoin students received pre-litigation letters for illegally uploading or downloading music files. The students were given the option to settle the claim for a reduced cost, or take the risk of having the lawsuit filed.
The following September of 2008, Davis sent a campus-wide e-mail and spread his message against online copyright violations, warning students that the RIAA could trace their IP addresses and potentially take legal action.
Bowdoin's new Web gateway offers speed, glamour, September 7, 2001
The College has made significant improvements to its Web sites and services in the past decade, adding eBear, upgrading the Web gateway, and moving student records online to Bearings.
The Career Planning Center expanded its offerings to students in the fall of 2000 by using Experience, Inc. services to introduce the eRecruiting program, also known as eBear. The service gathers information on students' personal and academic interests and keeps them in touch with internship, academic and job opportunities.
In an effort to improve functionality and style, the College made a series of updates to its Web gateway through the years. The Bowdoin Web site underwent a complete overhaul in September of 2001, a project that was in the works since 1998 after the initial 1997 launch. The College has steadily improved its Web site's search function, access to Bowdoin materials and design.
The Office of Student Records worked to get student grade reports and academic progress online from 2001 to 2003, culminating in the launch of Bearings in September of 2003.
In fall of 2007, the College announced its plans to develop a new student information system (SIS) online, which would include online course registration software and replace the outdated Bearings system. However, in the fall of 2009, the College said that the project was put on hold for budgetary reasons.
Printer malfunctions motivate IT response, September 28, 2003
Beyond academic Web sites, Information Technology was made steady improvements to its campus network and storage, e-mail system, campus phone services, and public printing.
In January of 2004, then-Associate Director of IT Networks and Operations Charles Banks stepped down from 12 years of service, when the current CIO Davis eliminated his position, saying the director of networking position was a redundant one.
In the fall of 2006, the College announced that its plans to extend its wireless Internet to downtown Brunswick were back on track, following logistical issues. Davis said the College had plans to extend its wireless network from campus down to Fort Andross, allowing Bowdoin students and faculty indefinite use, and Brunswick residents a trial period. The project, however, never came to fruition.
Following complaints about constant printer malfunctions in the fall of 2007, IT announced its plans to replace the entire printing infrastructure by November. At the time, the campus had "outgrown" its current printing system.
IT replaced its four-year-old CS Print system with Pharos Uniprint before students returned to campus in January of 2008. The new system was meant to run more smoothly, and would allow students to send jobs to public printers from personal computers.
IT to introduce new e-mail system, December 8, 2006
After Davis's arrival, IT began work on new projects for the College. In December of 2006, IT announced plans to introduce a new e-mail system to the College. Bowdoin switched to a Web-based Microsoft Outlook e-mail system, which provided students with two gigabytes of storage space, access to the College's directory, and a calendar for personal and campus events.
Graduates would be able to keep their e-mail account for one to two years after graduation, Davis announced, and the e-mail service included a disaster recovery and redundancy system—backing up e-mails to a separate location in case of server failure.
A follow-up article in February of 2007 stated that the new system was getting "poor reviews" from Bowdoin users. According to a February 2, 2007 Orient article, students complained that the new features were unnecessary or difficult to use, the search function was only accessible on Internet Explorer, and the client did not work well on Apple computers. Other problems with deleting e-mails and forwarding to another client were cited, as well.
Since then, IT has upgraded to a newer version of the Exchange server, though certain issues with Apple and browser functionality exist.
College planning switch to Internet telephoning, April 20, 2007
In April of 2007, the College announced plans to switch from its "1970s-era telephones, which Bowdoin buys for 58 cents a piece off eBay" to Internet phones, according to an Orient article. IT began installing some of the voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology phones in campus offices in November of 2007, and installed the rest in student dorms over Winter Break.
The VoIP phones use the same network for voice and data, according to Manager of Data Systems William Kunitz, allowing voice mail to work with the Outlook e-mail system. All students received a personal phone number that transfers with them through college, allowing multiple room residents to share a phone in a common space for some dorms.
While the official cost was not released, due to a non-disclosure agreement, the estimate was between $1 million and $2 million. At the time, Davis said that IT was working on expanding functionality, like the possibility of running a VoIP client on your computer with your school number, or integrating calls from cell phones.
Along with room phone improvements, the College allowed Cingular (now AT&T) to install a cell phone tower on top of Coles Tower, in response to student complaints about poor cell phone service. The original deal said that Cingular would pay the College $24,000 a year for the service, with a 3 or 4 percent increase each year. The College contacted Verizon with a similar offer, but Verizon said its coverage was sufficient in the area.