On Fri, Mar 3, 2017 at 3:52 PM, Garry Peirce wrote:
> Where: LAC and Portland
> When: Mar 08, 2017 5am
> Expected Duration: 1hr
> Scope: see summary
> Network maintenance will take place that will disrupt connectivity
> between Lewiston and Portland.
> Sites that will witness affected service will be:
> Bates and Colby Colleges: peerings to Portland.
> StateGovt: peering to Portland
> Networkmaine Contact Info:
> NOC 561-3587
> Local/Campus Contact Info during this window of [...]
appears to have begun with a power event at 3:39am. The issue is being
By Sarah Tewksbury, Free Press Staff
Since the fall semester of 2008, the University of Maine System has been using MaineStreet, an online tool, to aid students, faculty members and employees in university business such as registering for classes, managing work study hours, paying university bills and accessing personal academic information. In recent years, however, some members of the USM community that are using the system have determined it to be outdated and archaic.
The system-wide tool is used by many universities nationwide, such as Cornell University and Princeton University. The software’s true name is PeopleSoft, but the University of Maine System has nicknamed it MaineStreet for local use.
One major complaint from students is that the web design of the program is akin to that of an aging and worn-out website, making it seem more difficult to use than it truly is. According to USM’s Director of Registration and Scheduling Services Karin Pires, the problem could potentially be fixed.
“It is powerful in terms of its database capabilities; where it falls short sometimes is in the user interface,” Karin Pires wrote. “Other schools have purchased ‘add-ons’ to PeopleSoft in order to make it easier for students, particularly when trying to put together a schedule. I am exploring some of the same products.”
Pires went on to discuss the benefits of USM purchasing “add-ons” to the MaineStreet system. One of the most appealing supplementary features USM could buy is one that would allow students to build their schedules in a more visual and modern way. Dragging and dropping classes into a viewable block schedule would allow for students to create a schedule more easily.
When students navigate MaineStreet to find courses for upcoming academic sessions, courses that have not been offered for several semesters are often listed. When students consult their academic advisement report on MaineStreet, they are shown lists of courses that would satisfy program requirements. However, the lists of potential courses are often outdated. For example, a student looking for a course to satisfy a political science major requirement could come across courses that are no longer offered, such as POS 340 (The Politics of Developing Nations), which has not been offered at USM since fall term 2011.
Though there are issues surrounding MaineStreet, the advising department at USM has placed a great emphasis on students understanding the possibilities and benefits the system offers early on in their academic careers. Being able to efficiently navigate the portal can help students track their own academic progress and be completely aware of their GPA, financial aid and class registration.
“I think that the degree progress report is important, even though it isn’t always perfect. It can show what core are still needed, and what major requirements have to be met,” said Janis Albright, an academic advisor at the Portland campus.
Though the system could benefit from an update and become more user-friendly, advisors say that there is currently a large host of resources available to students who need help with the system. A simple search on the USM website turns up 12,700 results that help students and faculty members navigate, use and explore MaineStreet. According to the USM Advising Office, the resources available are not often utilized, making the system seem more difficult to operate than it really is.
USM staff members are also available during business hours to assist all students with issues they find when using the MaineStreet system. However, staff has found that the majority of questions and problems about the system come from new students who have not used MaineStreet before and that problems upper-class students have with the system are focused on the web interface and web design.
“I don’t get a lot of questions from most students,” said Jami Jandreau, the associate director of Student Financial Services. “Brand new students typically have questions about how to activate their accounts, but other than that I don’t see many students who are unable to use MaineStreet.”
Several departments at USM are available to answer topical questions about the system. Staff members in the Advising Office, the Technology Support Center, Student Financial Services and the Registrar’s Office are all knowledgeable and willing to aid any student or faculty member having issues with MaineStreet.
By Julie Pike, Free Press Staff
In the last month, there has been a significant rise in the number of thefts on the Portland campus. On Feb. 22, USM Public Safety issued a statement on their Facebook page informing the public that several thefts have occurred in lockers and in unattended offices.
In the first seven weeks of the spring semester, seven thefts have been reported so far. Six of them happened on the Portland campus and one in Gorham. This is compared to the 12 total thefts that occurred in the Fall semester, of which nine were in Gorham and three were in Portland.
The thefts this semester have primarily occurred in the Sullivan Gym and Woodbury Campus Center. Lieutenant Ronald Saindon from USM Public Safety stated that cash and wallets had been taken out of lockers in the gym, and purses or bags left unattended have been taken in Woodbury.
Saindon stated that USM police are actively looking into the thefts that have taken place. They have also asked the manager of the Sullivan Gym, Kevin Normand, to post signs throughout the gym to notify people that thefts have occurred and that extra measures to secure their valuables should be taken.
“This does two things. It makes the public aware of the thefts,” stated Saindon, “and it puts whoever is doing this on notice and shows them that we are taking this seriously.”
Saindon is also encouraging the community at USM to take extra caution with their valuables.
There are video surveillance cameras in place on both campuses. However, these cameras are not present in private spots, such as locker rooms, making that area more susceptible to thefts.
In response to the increase in thefts, some students are becoming more cautious of where they are leaving their personal items. Beatrice Downs, a senior tourism and hospitality major, explained a tactic she uses to keep her stuff safe.
“While I’m in Woodbury, if I ever need to leave to go to the bathroom or something, I will ask the person next to me if they can watch my stuff,” Downs stated. “Almost every time they say yes.”
Out of 50 students surveyed, 64 percent of them were aware of thefts happening on campus. The students were notified via a mass email sent to students, or they heard of the incidents through the Public Safety Facebook page.
Of those students surveyed, 70 percent of them drive to school and all of them reported that they kept their cars locked at school. However, 15 percent of those students admitted that they would sometimes leave valuables in plain sight in their cars.
Saindon suggests that people should store their valuables in the trunk of their car, instead of leaving them out on the front seat, to lessen the chance of a vehicular theft. He also suggests that, to combat the rise in thefts, members of the USM community need to practice keeping their valuables hidden and secure, regardless of where they may be on campus.
“A lot of these crimes are crimes of opportunity,” Saindon said. “If the opportunity is there and somebody isn’t watching their stuff while their laptop or purse is out in the open, people will take that chance to take it.”
Saindon also encouraged faculty and staff at USM to not leave their belongings unattended and to lock their offices when they leave.
When students were asked if they felt that their things were safe at USM, half of the students surveyed agreed. The other half claimed that they did not feel as if their personal items were safe at school anymore.
In response to students’ feedback, Saindon asks for students to take extra precautions and to notify USM police if they see someone acting suspiciously or oddly.
The biggest question with the rise in thefts is the reason why the last month has seen more than usual. Saindon offered insight into why more are happening.
“The Portland campus is much more of a public campus,” Saindon said. “There’s a lot more people in the public that can wander in and out of campus in the Portland area. It’s also that time of year that we see a rise in crimes of opportunity. We’re not immune to it any more than any other college campus.”
To ensure that student’s valuables remain safe and secure, students are encouraged to not leave their things unattended, lock their vehicles and lockers and keep any valuables secure and out of plain view in their cars.
By Johnna Ossie, News Editor
Last Wednesday, amidst public outcry, the Trump administration removed federal guidelines which stated that transgender students have the right to use the restrooms that best align with their gender identity. Over the past two years the Obama administration had issued memos to the nation’s public schools that stated not allowing trans students to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity was in violation of federal anti-discrimination laws under Title IX. The Trump administration issued a Dear Colleague letter that stated schools should ignore memos received from the Obama administration surrounding trans rights in public schools.
Newly appointed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who has been widely criticized, said the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights “remains committed to investigating all claims of discrimination, bullying and harassment against those who are most vulnerable in our schools…protecting all students, including LGBTQ students, [is] not only a key priority for the Department, but for every school in America,” according to the Washington Post.
Many people are concerned for the safety and future of trans rights in America. Trans individuals have one of the highest murder rates, as well as the highest rates of suicide, in the LGBTQ community. So far, in 2017, there have been at least seven reported murders of transgender women. Many people are concerned that these rollbacks will have a detrimental effect on trans students’ mental health and put their lives at risk.
Sarah Holmes, USM’s Title IX coordinator, is hoping to continue to expand support for trans students, despite current attitudes and regulations coming from the federal administration.
“One of the things that’s really important from a university perspective is that legally, by policy and state law, the University of Southern Maine believes that Title IX absolutely still applies to all students,” she said, “and in particular trans students, and so we know that we have good policies, [and that] we still for the moment have really good state laws. There’s good legal precedent in Maine. The piece around bathrooms is that individual students, employees, guests on campus, should absolutely, one hundred percent of the time, be able to use the bathroom of the gender that they identify as.”
Holmes discussed that many are concerned about what will become of Title IX under Trump’s administration. She said that though they are concerned about Title IX as a whole, including where the current administration stands on sexual assault, harassment and sex discrimination, this challenge of trans rights was the first hit.
“The reversal of the Dear Colleague letter around trans students, particularly in education, was something that I think was unexpected,” Holmes said. “We probably shouldn’t have been surprised. We are all concerned about the future of Title IX under this current administration, in terms of a lot of different aspects. I think the trans piece is the first piece to really be challenged.”
Portland has responded so far with a public rally that took place one week after the Trump administration’s rollbacks on trans students rights, partly organized by former Student Body President Vice President and student activist Madison Raymond. The rally took place on the steps of City Hall, where many rallies have taken place since Trump’s inauguration in January, including a protest against Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries and a stay on Syrian refugees, as well as several rallies directed at Senator Susan Collins. Another rally in support of trans rights is planned for Sunday the 4th in Monument Square.
Holmes says that USM is trying to take steps to protect and support trans students. Holmes discussed several initiatives she is hoping to spearhead, as well as the continued effort to build or reassign more gender-neutral or all-gender bathrooms on campus.
“There’s a project in the works to re-label all of our gender neutral bathrooms, or our all gender bathrooms, depending on how you want to call them and that’s something that’s still moving forward,” she said. “My understanding is that there will be a gender-neutral bathroom here in Woodbury this summer, that the construction will happen. Is it fast enough, is it enough? Absolutely not.”
Holmes discussed that this semester a change was made so that students can put the name they would like to be used on their class rosters into MaineStreet so that students do not have to worry about being “inadvertently outed” in class. Holmes also explained that the university is hoping to allow people to put the pronouns they use into demographics information on MaineStreet.
“This is especially relevant for our students who are trans identified, students who are genderqueer and gender-nonconforming, and especially students who use they/them/theirs pronouns or other sets of pronouns,” she said, “This can be a helpful thing. It’s not something that is native to the MaineStreet environment but it’s something that may be added. So, it’s [about] what are the things that we can build into our systems that communicate the right information, in the right places, to the right people so that we can do a better job of respecting people’s identities, respecting people’s names and their core values.”
When: Mar 08, 2017 5am
Expected Duration: 1hr
Scope: see summary
Network maintenance will take place that will disrupt connectivity between Lewiston and Portland.
Sites that will witness affected service will be:
Bates and Colby Colleges: peerings to Portland.
StateGovt: peering to Portland
Networkmaine Contact Info:
Local/Campus Contact Info during this window of work:
NONE / Unknown at this time