The team, headed by Richard Brown, vice chancellor for Administration and Finance, will meet regularly to monitor Y2K developments and oversee campus contingency planning.
Brown said that campus officials are confident that computer hardware and software at East Carolina are largely Y2K compliant-or will be soon-but that difficulties associated with various utilities and other vendors and suppliers could set off cascading problems. The worst-case scenario includes failure of major utility systems that could leave the campus without electricity, water, or phones for a period of time. Because the first day of the year 2000 falls on a Saturday, and because spring semester classes do not begin until Jan. 10, officials will have several days to recover from problems that may arise. In the event of a prolonged outage of electricity or water, however, the opening of the spring semester would be postponed, Brown said.
"While we will plan for such an occurrence, we do not expect that will be necessary," he said. The university already has a thoroughly tested crisis management plan that has served it well in events such as hurricanes and snow storms and the plan can be modified to deal with Y2K contingencies, Brown said. "No one really knows what the full impact of Y2K will be or how long it will be felt," Brown said. He said he hopes that the planning effort will turn out to be unnecessary, but the university really has no choice about conducting it.
"Other large organizations are taking similar preventive measures," he said. "At worst, we will have elevated the concern surrounding Y2K to a level that may prevent some on-campus problems that would have otherwise not been detected."
ECU News Bureau