Pulled plugs spark furor

Tim Horneman

Some Schroeder Hall residents who were taken off of the internet by Information Technology Services last week are upset with the way ITS handled the problem.

Last week, ITS handed out letters to 60 Schroeder residents alleging virus or spam activity coming from the students’ computers and notifying them that their Internet had been cut off because of the activity.

Sophomore Sam Libretti, one of the letter recipients, was particularly upset.

“I had no idea that something was wrong with my computer, and then (two weeks ago) these two guys from ITS knock on my door and asked how many computers I had in the room,” he said. “I said just one, mine, and they said, ‘We have to fix it — you have a virus on it and it’s sending out spam.’ Everything seemed fixed up, then a few days later my roommate was on my computer and the Internet stopped working. My roommate then said that we had a registered letter from ITS.”

The letter to Libretti, signed by ITS technical support specialist Robert Gutmann, read: “Marquette University has identified an alleged violation of Marquette’s Acceptable Use Policy. According to our information, (spam activity) is emanating from your network port. The network data port in your room has been deactivated due to this activity.”

The letter ordered Libretti to resolve the problem, but did not explain how, although it suggested that he contact the ITS Help Desk.

“But my computer was fixed (by the ITS employees), so I think it was kind of a waste of time” to talk to them again, Libretti said.

Libretti also had to fill out a form stating that he was aware of the problem on his computer, and he had to agree that he would not violate the Acceptable Use Policy. He denied repeatedly that he intentionally sent spam, but admitted that it was possible that his computer, which did not have virus protection on it, could have been sending spam without his knowledge.

“The ITS guy told me that I probably just downloaded something off of Kazaa that was tainted,” Libretti said.

Dan Smith, senior director for ITS in Project Management and Applications, explained why ITS took the course it did.

“We try to give some time before cutting off Internet, if the user’s not impacting the network,” Smith said. “However, some viruses send out spam, which slows down the entire network. We thought we should be proactive, and so we cut off their Internet. It’s difficult to deal with specifics in the letters, though.”

To Libretti’s claim that his Internet had been cut after repairs, Smith said, “That shouldn’t have happened.”