Baruch College Students Face Trouble After Class Sign-Up Tool Strains Network

A group of students at Baruch College used a computer script to automatically check for open seats in popular courses, but their system created so much network traffic that it threatened to crash the computer system of the entire City University of New York, of which the campus is a part. The dean of students’ office told 19 Baruch students to stop what they were doing immediately. Campus officials did not name the students, and have not yet settled on a penalty for those involved.

Dr. Ben Corpus, the dean of students, sent out an e-mail last week warning of a “serious violation” of the City University’s policies on computer use, which among other things forbid activities that could interfere with the system or other people’s ability to use it. Reached by phone, he said that the school had not yet settled on a penalty for those students who were involved, but he emphasized that none of them had shown any malicious intent.

No one was trying to steal other students’ private information or to corrupt the computer system. In fact, he said, they were not even trying to hide their actions, having signed in under their own names.

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