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Daily Bulletin

University of Waterloo -- Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Monday, January 20, 1997

[M2008 telephone] Pictured at left, if you're viewing the bells-and-whistles version of this Bulletin, is the phone that will be sitting on most desks at UW by some time next year. It's the Meridian2008 "standard business telephone" by Nortel, which has eight buttons on it and, among other features, a light that will signal if there's voice-mail waiting for you.

The M2008 and its big brother, the M2616 for people who have more than about three phone lines to answer, were introduced Friday morning as part of an "open house" about the replacement of UW's present phone system. The first new phones are coming starting next week -- about 500 of them. Another 1,800 phones will be replaced in May, and the remaining 1,500 in the spring of 1998.

Nearly all phones connected to the UW switchboard are affected. Some exceptions are phones in public areas, labs and student areas where many people have access to the phone, and those in a few remote buildings, including 156 Columbia Street. Also not being changed are pay phones, emergency phones, and phones in residence rooms, which aren't connected to the switchboard.

Also being replaced is the central telephone "switch" in the Physics building, a pretty much obsolete piece of hardware that dates from 1984. And Friday's session was told that a total of 126 phone lines between UW and the Bell Canada switching centre on Albert Street will be replaced by five "T1" cables, each capable of carrying 24 calls at a time and with more flexibility to handle incoming or outgoing, local or long-distance calls. "Using them smarter will give us the same or better service," said Bruce Uttley of information systems and technology, the coordinator of the telephone project.

The T1 lines have already been connected for testing, and will go into use this Friday evening at 7:00, when the new central "switch" is also connected. All phone service to campus will be interrupted for anywhere from one to four hours Friday evening while the changeover happens.

The first departments to get new phones will include the police, health and safety, and counselling services, because they have a special need for one feature available on the new phones: caller-ID that lets anyone with a "display" panel on an M2008 phone see who's on the other end of the line, even with an off-campus call. Other departments who are getting new phones immediately have already been notified by IST, Friday's meeting was told. Which departments will get new phones in May, and which will have to wait until 1998, isn't known yet.

There's no change to anybody's phone number as a result of the project, which has a total cost of about $1.9 million. It should pay for itself with no change in the rates departments pay each month for their phone service, said Jay Black, associate provost (information systems and technology).

At Friday's meeting some users asked about modems and fax machines, which won't work on the new digital equipment. Black pointed out that although many people have been using such devices on their UW extensions, it's been against the rules because the central equipment isn't designed to handle so heavy a load. Anyone who needs such devices should get a separate "business" phone line with a seven-digit number, he said. "I'm not justifying a policy that's been in place for twenty years," he said in response to pressure. "I'm saying I'm not prepared to change it today!" IST staff will look later at ways of providing phone lines for faxes and modems, he promised.

Senate meets this evening

The monthly meeting of the UW senate is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. in Needles Hall room 3001; it's open to the public. Major agenda items include a discussion of the recent "Smith panel report" on post-secondary education in Ontario, and some words about UW's 40th anniversary celebrations, now beginning.

Will that be cash, or . . .

A note from Elaine Koolstra, manager of parking services: "Effective Monday, January 20, visitors using visitor parking lots B1 by Physics, H at the University Avenue entrance or M at the Columbia Street entrance will be able to pay their deposit using Visa, MasterCard or their debit cards. Of course cash and department charges will still be accepted."

An update on sports

My apologies for saying in Friday's Bulletin that the weekend basketball double-headers against Lakehead University would be played in Thunder Bay. In fact they were home games for the Warriors and the Athenas. the Warriors won both their games, downing the Nor'westers 76-60 on Friday and 78-74 on Saturday. The Athenas didn't do so well, losing 73-52 Friday night at 59-40 Saturday night.

How co-op students are doing

Some figures are on hand from the co-op department, showing that as of the first week of January there were 3,372 students in winter term jobs, and 333 still looking for employment. That's a placement rate of 91.01 per cent as the term starts -- a trifle higher than the rate at the beginning of the winter term a year ago, 90.27 per cent. (Last year there were 3,192 students in jobs, and 344 without.) Placement rates are as high as 96 per cent in accountancy, as low as 73 per cent in architecture.

And more from the co-op department:

Finally, Naese has a special message for staff and faculty -- "an appeal to consider hiring a student for the May-August work term. Co-op students are always looking for work term positions on campus, and so far the number of UW co-op jobs received is low. So if you are contemplating hiring additional help, you might want to consider a student for the job." More information: ext. 4026.

Today in the United States

More than a few Americans observe a holiday today, in honour of the late Martin Luther King Jr., the most prominent civil rights leader. At some institutions, such as the University of Michigan, the day provides the occasion for special events aimed at historical understanding, racial harmony and social justice. Also in the United States: according to the 20th amendment to the Constitution, the four-year term of the president and vice-president begins at noon on January 20 of every fourth year. So the inauguration ceremonies for Bill Clinton and Al Gore will be taking place in Washington today.


January 19, 1967: The board of governors appoints new faculty members to arrive September 1, including David Burns (mechanical engineering) and Jack Kalbfleisch (statistics).

January 20, 1975: The UW senate votes 25-24 not to change the name of the faculty of mathematics to "mathematical sciences".

Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@watserv1.uwaterloo.ca -- (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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