volume 44, number 3
Temple UniversityFaculty Herald

Accessibility and Technology at Temple

An Interview with Timothy O’Rourke, Chief Information Officer and Vice President, Computer and Financial Services, and Paul E. Paire, Executive Director, Systems, Computer Services by Steve Newman, editor

Editor’s Note: Although CIO O’Rourke has been making presentations to various faculty groups about the changes in Temple’s policies on accessibility, I think it’s crucial that as many faculty as possible are informed about them. So, on January 23rd, I sat down with CIO O’Rourke and Executive Director Paire on January 23rd; thanks to them for spending their time discussing these very important issues.

 

--Why and How Temple’s Accessibility Policies Have Changed
--Training Faculty and Enforcing Policies
--Budget and Expenditures for Accessibility
--Thought Experiments on Accommodations
--The Make-Up of the ATCC and Accessibility Working Groups
--Cyber-Security

 

 

Why and How Temple’s Accessibility Policies Have Changed

 

Tim O’Rourke (TO): Accessible Technology in Higher Education is controversial in a way because it is big, it’s important, and there are no clear cut answers. Everybody is always looking for clear-cut, black-and-white answers. “What do I do? Do I do this or that?” But everything we’re dealing with now is subjective, it’s our opinions, we discuss it, and come up with what we feel is the best answers. At the end of the day, what we come up with, we could go to court and a judge could rule against us.


Steve Newman (SN): So these are informed judgment calls.


TO: Right. It’s a lot of judgment calls. We’re trying to be compliant, but I don’t want to do anything that is so far out, so expensive that we don’t need to do it. That’s the balance we’re working with right now.


SN: I know you’ve come to the Faculty Senate Steering Committee and you’ve made presentations to a lot of different groups. And yet it’s still the case that faculty, like other busy people, often do not pay attention to something until it is actually on their doorstep. So I think it would help our readers if one or both of you could give a quick sense of what has changed. What has changed in our posture toward accessibility, and why has it changed?


TO: OK. I think the big thing that has changed university-wide is an awareness. I think that we’re all aware of the issue. Why? Because there is a myriad of lawsuits out there. Dozens of lawsuits from organizations representing people with disabilities against universities about the use of technology in the classroom. It’s a very interesting phenomenon. We use technology more and more and more in education. Constantly. Every year. It’s snowballing. We do so without any thought as to how that technology affects a disabled person. As a result, some disabled people are saying, “Wait. Slow down. This is putting us at a disadvantage.” They have laws on their side. So the reality of it is that I think that all of us in the Higher Education industry in general have to say, “We realize this; now what are we going about it?” But, as I said, there are no black-and-white answers, there is really no, “You should do this or this or this.” So we’re in the process now of learning. We’ve been dealing with this now for almost two years. We have been dealing with it as a result of the Penn State settlement. I think I mentioned it in my meeting with the FSSC. I sat there and read the Penn State settlement and almost fell off my chair. These are things that never crossed my mind.


SN: It’s global. It’s everything from libraries services to admissions to pedagogy.


TO: It’s everything that has to do with education as a whole, since we’re using technology in every aspect of education. Very few faculty members today write on the blackboard. But even if they did it, if there were a blind person in the room, how would you handle it?
    Temple has always done a very good job. We’ve always been aware of people with disabilities. But it’s been our philosophy that if we have a person with a disability in the room, we call Disability Resources and make accommodations.


SN: It’s been ad hoc.

 

TO: It’s been ad hoc and making accommodations. And we’ve done a terrific job of that. Our Disability Resources is as good as they come. But that’s not enough. That’s not enough anymore. What does that mean, "that’s not enough"? We don’t know. We’re trying to figure it out. We’re taking baby steps, trying to figure it out.
    Almost everything we’re doing now, we’re questioning: “How do we do this? Is this OK?”
   So, what have we done? First of all, we set up a website. Everything I’m going to tell you is available on accessibility.temple.edu. We also set up a policy. One, a general statement: We will be accessible. There’s no argument there. Two, and I think probably the most controversial thing in here, is: “The person responsible for providing the technology and information is responsible for making it accessible.”


SN: Yeah—I have that in bold in my own notes.


TO: We can’t be in a situation where a faculty member who is teaching says, “It’s not my responsibility to make this accessible; it’s yours. It’s Computer Services’. It’s the University’s.” You can’t do that. We don’t tell faculty how to teach, what to teach, what to use in teaching; so we can’t be responsible for making that accessible. I think that’s the crux of your piece: What is a faculty member supposed to do?


SN: Yes, that’s my focus.


TO: If it needs to be accessible and it can’t be made accessible, then we need to remove it. We need to change. That’s the policy. And we’ve set up an Accessibility Technology Compliance Committee (ATCC), made up of several really good faculty members, administrators, and legal counsel is a big player in that, to make judgments on this, since a lot of this subjective. I know I did not want to be the one to say yes or no in all these things. So we discuss these things. It’s a very active committee. It meets about once a month. They review exceptions, and I think you [Paul Paire] gave me a number the other day, that something like 30 things have come through and they have reviewed and made modifications and exceptions.

 

Training Faculty and Enforcing Policies

 

SN: The requests are coming from faculty members? Departments? How have the exception requests bubbled up?


TO: Right now, the exceptions either come when a faculty member wants to use software in the class or an administrative department want to use software to perform their functions. If the software is not certified to be accessible, then we need to take a review of it and make a determination. I’ll be perfectly honest with you, I think every exception request has been approved. However, in that process of approving them, the committee has made the faculty member sit down and document how they would accommodate a blind student, how they would accommodate a deaf student. So we’re getting these accommodations in writing. And, again, I get back to awareness. We’re making faculty members think about this up front. One thing that can’t happen is that a faculty member prepares a class, “I’m going to use WebEx, I’m going to do this and that.” And then on day one a blind student or a deaf student comes in and they can’t use it. The faculty member can’t just say, “Go to Disability Resources.” At some point, the faculty member may need to totally change the way they do their class. And the law gives them a very short period of time, I think only two weeks. So what we’re trying to do now is to get this thought process going up front.


SN: If I could ask you about the exceptions, so I know where we are. I know this has already been a multi-year effort and we have years to put into this. In some sense this is going to be a permanent effort, since things will keep emerging and there’s no reason to think this law will change. And I have to think that faculty want Temple to be accessible.


TO: That’s the beauty of this.


SN: What I’ve read about Universal Design [link to Keefer piece] shows that it benefits all students. But back to the exception requests. Is that because the faculty member has him or herself gone out of the way to say, “I know about this policy. Is this software going to meet the standard?” Or are you all going to start a survey college by college or department or department and say, “That could be a problem area.” How have the faculty members even known to make an exception request?


TO: Well, a lot of the exception requests have come through with a purchase of new software. Purchasing new software comes through Computer Business Services; they see it and say, “Wait! Is this accessible?” They’re being a pain about it, to be perfectly honest. However, before that question would never have been asked. Now, we’re asking it. We’re going back to vendors with this. In a lot of cases, the software isn’t accessible, but the vendors recognize that this is a problem, and they give us roadmaps to make it accessible. Within six months or a year, they’ll make it accessible. This is affecting not only us but also the vendors we purchase from. That’s the big point, we now stop and question this.

   That’s number one. Number two is that every college and school has a liaison on accessibility issues. We meet regularly with them. So they’re raising the issue. “I have this faculty member doing this; what should we do about it?” Again, I get back to the fact that there’s no black-and-white answer. We have this committee and we discuss it. We come up with options just sitting there and say, “If you need it, you could do this.” You’ll see through the exception process that those discussions are occurring.

 

SN: One of my questions is about what resources have been and will be provided to faculty. It sounds like the committee itself is a resource.


TO: Yes, two things. The committee itself is a resource, and the Instructional Support Center works very closely with the committee, and very closely with Paul so that they can go to them and ask the questions. If they don’t know the answers, they will either come with an answer or figure out what they’re supposed to do. There is an Instructional Support Center on each campus. On Main, it’s in the Faculty Wing of the Tech Center.


SN: I notice you have on your list of things to do is, “Train faculty members, web developers, web designers, and system programmers.” So is there right now a set training that we’re hoping to cycle faculty through, or is it conducted on a case-by-case basis where a faculty member feels as if he needs help and goes to the ISC? I’m thinking of this both in terms of what’s happening thus far and what is planned for the future.


Paul Paire (PP): There’s an ad hoc component of it right now, but the Instructional Support Center has developed training materials for how to make MS-Word and PowerPoint documents accessible. That will be available as an in-person training session during the Spring Semester. That’s going to be one of the options. For the web designers and developers, we actually had a vendor come out and do some training on how to use a tool to check for accessibility. Not that that impacts the faculty very much.

 

SN: But the infrastructure will be there as things are getting developed.


TO: If you think about our faculty members, there are a thousand different ways they come at things, using all different types of software. But we are saying, “This is how you make Microsoft Word accessible.” The last step beyond having a web design policy and a technology policy is the hardest step—a policy for what you use in the classroom. That’s the one we're struggling with, and as we go to conferences, we find that that’s the one everyone’s struggling with. Because there are so many different ways to use technology in the classroom.
    But there are some things we are taking a look at. Every faculty member should have an accessible syllabus. Every faculty member has to have a syllabus, right? It should be accessible. That may mean you have to have a Word document using a font of a particular size. We will come out with guidelines like that in a general form.
    One thing that we really have going for us is that Blackboard is accessible, and almost everybody uses Blackboard, so that is a huge hurdle to get over.


SN: When you say Blackboard is accessible does that mean that there is an accessibility editor that you can build into all of your documents, or is it that a student who is visually- or hearing-impaired has a reader that will automatically make things accessible for them?


TO: A reader can navigate through Blackboard. Now the problem is when a faculty member puts a document, an old pdf file, for example, or a video on Blackboard, that may not be accessible. That would have to be made accessible.


SN: Can PDFs be made accessible?


PP: The newer versions of Adobe Acrobat Professional have an accessibility checker you can run on any PDF document.


TO: But the old version doesn’t. So that’s what we’re targeting in the new guidelines. You can use PDF, but it has to be this version or later. You can use MS-Word, but this version or later, using a certain font. That’s what we’re working on.

 

SN: What’s the timetable for that? All of this is important for faculty, but stuff in the classroom is where we live and affects us most directly. And it’s the most complicated. What sort of timeline are we looking at for these guidelines to be rolled out? And when will faculty be expected to step to them?


TO: Faculty will be expected to step to them once we roll out the guidelines. We have found out that this is the hardest part of what we’re doing. So we’re being very cautious about it; I don’t want to do it too soon. Maybe in the next year, Paul? I think that the awareness is key, and faculty are starting to get aware. I don’t think they should worry, that “Oh, my God. I don’t know how to do my course.” They should keep doing what they’re doing with this awareness until we come out with specific guidelines.


SN: Has there been much thought given to the practicalities of enforcement? Policies are announced all the time but are sometimes not adhered to. This one seems to be particularly important because, first of all, there are significant ethical issues involved. To not follow these guidelines really would significantly disadvantage a certain group of students. Then there are of course what has in part triggered this, which is the question of legal liability. Has much thought been given to how you’re going to monitor compliance? This is a huge university with hundreds of departments. Is it simply going to have to be a passive system, as in, “ Look: This is the policy and we expect you to follow it.” Are you going to do spot-checks?


TO: I don’t think we’re going to do spot-checks. I don’t think we’re going to do audits. I want to say this: Our faculty have been fabulous on this. They want to do this, and they don’t know just how. We’re at the stage where we don’t know what to tell them. That’s what we’re figuring out. I don’t envision audits or anything like that. But I do think if a situation arises where it comes to our attention that there’s an issue or a problem, we’ll do what we need to do. We’ll intervene at that point in time. The beauty of this whole problem is everybody wants to do the right thing. I haven’t heard one person say, “This is a bad idea. We don’t need to do it.” I’m not envisioning a point in time where a faculty member says, “I’m not going to make this accessible.” If they do, we’ll go to the Provost, we’ll do what we have to do. But I don’t think it’ll come to that.

 

SN: I don’t either. I know that other universities have been working on this. If I were to look for models of best practices on my own, what other schools are doing a particular good job on this, would you say?


PP: The University of Washington is at the forefront. The California State University system has also been a leader, not as far in front as the University of Washington, but they’re doing a lot. A number of institutions that have had lawsuits brought against them.


TO: But let me tell you this: We are now doing presentations at conferences. We have moved from not knowing that this is an issue to the forefront. That’s really where we’re at with our awareness. We’re doing sessions at conferences now. I’m pleased about where we’ve gotten in a short amount of time.


SN: I’m thinking about my own class, a capstone on the Gothic. I’m going to show some film clips. How would I go about getting a clip from The Shining close-captioned? Where would I go to get that done?


TO: Close-captioning is a specific case. The Accessibility Technology Compliance Committee has taken the position that multimedia shown in the classroom do not have to be captioned unless a student requests it; if a request is made, the film, etc. must be captioned within a reasonable amount of time, typically 48 hours or 2 business days, whichever is longer. Of course, faculty could save themselves the possibilities of having to drop everything to get their media close-captioned should a request be made by having the captioning done beforehand.


SN: I know that’s not a cheap process.


TO: What is it, $150 per hour or something like that? It’s funny, in the past two weeks, this is exactly what we’ve been thinking about. We want to get a university-wide contract to get the cheapest price.


SN: Where would I go to get that done now?


PP: You could put in a TUhelp ticket or contact Viral Mehta in Computer Services, and he could assist with that. You could also contact Disability Resources and Services.


TO: Disability Resources or the ISC. We can get that done for you. Then who pays for it? That’s the bigger question. If it’s for a school or college, you need to give us a FOAPAL. [Ed. Note: Stands for "Fund, Organization, Account, Program, Activity and Location," the form used to explain and activate an expenditure.]  Just to date, I’ve spent almost $560K updating the classrooms, and that doesn’t include the full year’s salary for Paul since I’ve had him on this for two years.

 

Budget and Expenditures for Accessibility

 

SN: I was going to save this topic for later, but since you brought it up, I have some questions to ask about budget. We’re talking about new equipment and new staff. Two big things are converging: one, Decentralized Budgeting and this very important effort to make Temple more accessible. The first part of the question has to do with the central part of it, which is your shop. It does raise a question: These services are going to be requested on an ongoing basis by the various colleges and schools, so it wouldn’t be crazy to think that this is going to be part of the “allocated costs” paid by the academic units. The algorithm you’d be using to calculate that cost may need to be adjusted to acknowledge this.


TO: First of all, I don’t think this is going to be a huge budget issue. I’ve spent $560K, but we’re getting real close to where we have all the major stuff done. The only other major thing out there is captioning, and personally I think that needs to be done by the School or College. I don’t think that needs to be an allocated cost. It’s the faculty member who decides whether you want a video in class. That’s not central; we don’t pay for anything else centrally for what you do in the class aside from Blackboard and the other central systems. It’s your decision whether to show that video or not. That’s fine. I don’t think we’re talking a lot of money here, I really don’t. I don’t think it needs to be built in.
    I’ve spent $560K and I have some more money set aside to do the classrooms. We’re helping the colleges and schools. One decision that we made that saved us a lot of money. We went in to this saying we’re going to make every classroom accessible. And then we said, why do that? Why don’t we just make sure that every school and class has accessible lecture hall and one or two other classrooms that are accessible. If you go in on the first day and it’s not fully accessible and you have someone who needs accessibility, you can switch classrooms.


SN: It does occur to me that if someone is completely blind, that’s relatively easy to determine when he or she is in your class. With hearing impairment, it’s harder. I can think of visual impairments where it’s harder to detect. And then there are other disabilities...


TO: That’s easy. It’s the student’s responsibility to make the determination. It’s not the faculty member’s responsibility to figure that out.

 

SN: So you’re not on the hook if someone doesn’t announce it.


TO: Right. The problem comes if someone comes in the first day needing accommodation, and you haven’t thought it through.


SN: Since we brought up the question of budgeting, this is not related to accessibility, but I thought I’d ask it. It used to be that schools and colleges got a disbursement from the technology fee.


TO: Yes, the schools and colleges directly get around 55% of the technology fee.


SN: Will that continue in Decentralized Budgeting?


TO: Yes. The Tech fee will be allocated in the same way.


SN: So in the various colleges, how was the hiring of the in-house IT people done? And will that change? For example, in Development, if I’m not mistaken, the costs for staff were split equally between the central Development office and the individual colleges and schools.

 

TO: It’s different for every college and school. There’s a twenty year history on that; I think that at one point in time, they were all under Computer Services. Then some colleges and schools wanted to run it themselves so they moved budget money there and the colleges have supplemented it. There are a few schools and colleges where there people are managed by them but are under our budget. And then there are some schools and colleges where we manage the whole thing.


SN: Characteristic of Temple.


TO: Right. In my time, I’ve dealt with some deans who wanted me to move people to their budget. My fear is that the deans are going to keep the budget and make me take over responsibility. I’m going to be very careful, let me tell you.


SN: This is a new day, and Deans are looking with a new keenness to cut expenses any way they can.


TO: It’s one thing to cut expenses. It’s another to shift the expense to someone else without the funding. I’ll be very attuned to that.

 

Thought Experiments on The Limits of Accomodations

 

SN: To get back to accessibility, a couple of thought experiments. Let’s imagine that I’m teaching a course in Art History and I’m trying to teach about a change in style in the Italian Renaissance and so I present pictures from different dates. How is it that one would accommodate someone who is visually impaired if the knowledge and competencies being inculcated require very close attention to the effect of say, the move to oil-based paints. Does that put us beyond the pale of reasonable accommodation? Or would the instructor have to make that accessible? One could ask similar things of the performing arts, music, and related fields.


TO: The answer is we don’t know. I use Tracy Cooper as an example. She’s in Art History, and we’ve built screens for her to display their work. Tracy made a statement where she said, “I could have 10 people describe the ‘Mona Lisa’ and get 10 totally different descriptions.” That’s what art is. I think we’re going to deal with that one in the courtroom, maybe.
PP: What is supposed to happen when a student comes and says I need an accommodation is that the faculty member works with DRS to determine what a reasonable accommodation is. That’s their jurisdiction.


TO: It’s very interesting—we talk about the Dental school. By law, you can’t be blind and be a dentist. They take a physical before they start Dental school.


SN: Then there are biology labs, even if it’s online dissection.


TO: That’s when you’re getting to reasonable accommodations. I can envision a time where somebody comes into a classroom, wants an accommodation, and we need to get Legal Counsel involved to review it and make that determination. That’s what this committee is for. A lot of it when you get into that level of detail is common sense; and it’s a matter of risk. Can I say that everything we do can be made totally accessible? No. That’s not going to happen. I don’t know how you make a class about the subtle differences that come with using different paints available to a blind person.
    Remember that we’re talking about technology here. What’s the difference between an image in a book or on a screen?
    I would be very concerned if a faculty member made a statement to a student, “You can’t take this course because you’re blind.” Then we have a problem. I don’t think that should ever be said to a student. We need to get the ADA people, the Disability Resources people, legal counsel involved before a statement like that gets made. Don’t ever make that statement. In some schools, those statements have been made, and you can easily imagine lawyers getting involved. I don’t think that it’s ever been made here. I think it’s important that our faculty are aware of the issue. When an accommodation is requested and don’t feel they can make it, get Disability Resources, get Paul, get the ISC, we’ll bring legal counsel in, and we’ll have those discussions. I think those decisions will have to happen on an ad hoc basis.

 

The Make-Up of the ATCC and Accessibility Working Groups

 

SN: I wanted to discuss the committee you mentioned. It has four faculty members on it, although I think we can say in the case of Betsy Leebron Tutelman, while she’s certainly a faculty member, her responsibilities are primarily administrative. You have Darin Kapanjie and Catherine Schifter, whom I’ve spoken with frequently and who recently published an article on standards for Online Learning. They have lots of experience in the way technology and pedagogy shape each other.

 

TO: Yes; I’d add that Prof. Kapanjie is in charge of Fox’s online programs.

 

SN: Then you have Jeremy Schipper from CLA, who is a scholar in disability studies. It sounds like a great group of people. It does raise a question for me: While the resources on the committee are fantastic, what resources might be out there that are not on the committee? How is the Institute on Disabilities involved? It doesn’t appear that any of its members are on the ATCC.

 

TO: The Institute on Disabilities is engaged in the project, and we do have Disability Resources on the committee. We’re looking at how to do this in the best possible way, knowing that there is no clear black-and-white solutions. We know that at Temple we deal with limited budgets. We know that this could get really expensive with some non-practical solutions. We went to the Deans; we went to the Provost; we went to the Faculty Senate when this all started; we didn’t turn anybody away. We were looking for practicality; we are not talking about theory now, we were talking about how to put things to practice. There is a difference in some cases between what theoretically should be done and what practically can be done.

 

PP: The Institute on Disabilities is engaged in the project, just not at the ATCC level. They’re involved in the Instructional Materials and Captioning workgroup, and we’ve just finished an RFP for captioning pre-recorded materials. They had a representative there. They had representatives when we chose the software for auditing websites for content.

 

SN: I’m imagining two types of courses—Writing Intensive courses and Gen Ed, though there’s some overlap. I’m wondering if you’ve been in touch with Istvan Varkonyi and the other people in Gen Ed or Lori Salem, since one of the ways you could get these guidelines promulgated efficiently is to say, well, along with the other things you have to check for when you put up a proposal for a new course or have to get it re-certified as Writing-Intensive or Gen Ed is accessibility.

 

TO: Paul, why don’t you go through the other committees involved?

 

PP: I don’t know if I can hit all of them off the top of my head. [For a list of Working Groups, see here.] Procurement: That’s where we decide how to make accommodations through software. There’s the library; Jonathan Le Breton has been spearheading that committee, and he’s also on the ATCC. They’ve been doing a huge amount of work contacting the vendors that they use for databases to make sure they’re accessible. Instructional Materials and Captioning, headed by Lori Bailey. Rather than developing a policy or set of guidelines, they took a different approach, doing checklists. Then, Training and the Website, run by Pamela Barnett and Gail Gallo, who took the checklists from the Instructional Materials group and created training materials from them. Lori Bailey helped with the website content as well. For the website, Margo Scavone who has since left and then Ron Vitale to make sure that the web is accessible, setting the guidelines and standards. Online Learning is Dominique Kliger. Steve Hazzard is responsible for the Administrative Systems, and Andrea Caporale for assistive technology used in classrooms and computer labs.


TO: But I don’t think we’ve specifically dealt with Gen Ed.


PP: But we have spoken with Istvan since that’s where the largest number of classes are. We spoke with Istvan and other GenEd folks a couple of months ago about making their syllabi accessible. But that’s a chicken-and-egg question, since syllabi need to be accessible, but we need guidelines for how to make them accessible. So we’ve held off having a deep conversation with them until we finalize the appropriate checklists.


TO: But we have a liaison with each school and college, and it’s up to them to determine how best to translate these guidelines into practice.


SN: I’m on the Writing Intensive Course Committee, and accessibility could be factored into the discussions around those courses.


TO: We now have turnitin, and that’s accessible; we also found out that we have purchased iThenticate, and that’s not accessible. That’s more for graduate theses, and that’s not accessible. So we’re trying to figure out before we roll that out how we would accommodate someone on that. But turnitin is now accessible.

 

Cyber-security

 

SN: I wonder if you could talk about some of the challenges you’re facing about IT security. What challenges are coming down the pike?


TO: This is a whole new article for you, first of all. IT Security has always been very important and will only be more so. You saw what happened with Target, right? And they’re now saying that there are many vendors hit by the same thing who don’t even know it yet. There’s now commerce involved with hacking. Hackers are going out and doing this for profit. Before, it was a bunch of teenagers seeing if they can break in to somebody’s system and cause havoc. Now there’s a profit motive.
    It’s my number one concern, security. When I started in this job 12 years ago, I had one person in charge of security. Today, I have seven. We review it constantly.
    As many times as we’ve told people not to give out their IDs and passwords. The last time we had a big phishing event here three weeks ago; in a day, we had 40 people who disclosed their IDs and passwords. It’s like physical safety; in some cases, people are very concerned, but others think nothing will happen to them. You have lots of young students who don’t think this would ever happen to them.
    I spend a great deal of money, millions of dollars a year to protect our IT infrastructure. But I’ll never say that it will never happen to us. It’s scary, what’s going on out there.

 

SN: As universities get increasingly interested in technology transfer and patents...


TO: We’re big targets; we’re big targets from people here and in other countries looking to steal data and research. More and more, we’ve gotten faculty to move their IT from the server underneath their desk to our Data Center where we can protect it better and back it up.
But I’ve had faculty argue about the price. They can go out and buy a server for a thousand dollars, and I charge them fifteen hundred dollars and they don’t want to pay it. These are tenured faculty, and you can’t force them to do some things. But I think we’re getting there. But it’s scary, Steve, it’s scary.


SN: Do you see lots of DNS attacks?


TO: Daily! I have some statistics for you. DNS attacks, we get them constantly. Within a 24 hour period, our firewall rejects 33 million unauthorized attempts. The numbers are staggering. Within a 24 hour period, our antivirus blocked more than 28,000 pieces of malware. The things that I’m doing cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Our firewalls are $500K a piece, and I have four of them. People always ask me why I have such a big budget, a lot of it goes into security.
    At one point in time—I don’t know how old you are—to get money out of a bank, I had to stand in a line and show my ID to a teller to get money. Today, it’s your ID and password, and you get whatever you want. So how important is your ID and password?
    I still take grief for having people changing their passwords every six months. You don’t know how many people yell at me for that. The number one problem we have at the Help Desk is people forgetting their passwords because they have to change it. We have worked hard to make everything accessible through TU Portal with one ID and Password. That’s a nice convenience, but it’s also a security concern. If someone gets your ID and password they have the keys to everything. I can’t see your password, but research shows that the number one password is “password.”


SN: Well, I’ve kept you long enough. This discussion has been very useful, I think.


TO: The faculty have been terrific. I was very worried when we first started the ADA project, but they’ve been terrific, very understanding. I haven’t had any major issues or arguments with them. We’re trying to be as practical as we can. Again, we’ve gone from not having any awareness of this to being a leader. Schools are calling us up now. I initially was going to put Paul on this 25% of the time, but he is on it full-time. And he’s become very passionate about it. He’s a pain, frankly, raising questions whenever I buy software, for instance. But that’s a good thing. We need to be aware of this.


SN: I agree. Thank again for your time.  •