Millersville U. cancels classes after network outage

(Millersville University)

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A network outage forced Pennsylvania’s Millersville University to cancel classes Monday, the university announced on Twitter over the weekend.

The 7,700-student university about 70 miles west of Philadelphia lost access to its internet service, video conferencing, online course platform and telephone services. The university tweeted that 911 service was unaffected, but that both in-person and online classes were cancelled on Monday.

Neither the brief tweet announcing the outage, nor subsequent tweets on Monday explained what caused the disruption. University leaders did not respond to requests for additional information about whether the outage was caused by a cyberattack.

Returning in person

Like many universities, much of Millersville’s education shifted to an online format during the pandemic, though the institution announced last week that May’s graduation ceremonies will be conducted in person over three days in its football stadium.

Many universities have arranged special online presentations to replace their traditional ceremonies, with some even using surrogate robots to allow students to “walk” during graduation, but still reports of students’ disappointment with the replacements have been widespread.

Update 3/3/21:

A university spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday that the network outage resulted from a cyberattack and that status updates can be found on the university’s website.

“Fortunately, Millersville’s personally identifiable information located in our system has been encrypted since 2019 for safety,” university communications director Janet Kacskos wrote in an email. “Because of this, to the best of our knowledge, that data has not been compromised.”

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