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SMC plagued with voicemail problems

Laura Baumgartner | Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Technological headaches have been plaguing the Saint Mary’s campus the past few weeks as the telecommunications and information technology departments have struggled with an outdated voicemail system.

The voicemail system on campus is provided by NEC Electronics, which recently released an update to the voicemail system that the College purchased two years ago.

“We were scheduled to have an update on voicemail software and hardware,” said Keith Fowlkes, director of Information Technol-ogy. “The software support has been dropped for the current version by the company, and we have been forced to upgrade.

The company was supposed to upgrade to the new software two weeks before any students returned to campus, but failed to do so.”

Failure on the part of NEC to provide the College with the necessary upgrade forced a return to the old voicemail system, Fowlkes said.

“We had to go back to the old software, which has terrible problems with the management software which we were already aware of, as was the company,” he said.

Despite these setbacks, all voicemail should be functioning now.

Fowlkes said that all voicemail boxes should have been working since last Tuesday..

Many students and faculty members around campus were not even aware that the voicemail system was not working.

“I was not even aware that there was a problem with the voicemail system,” junior Laura Corke said. “I use my cell phone for almost all of my calls and barely use the phone in my room so there hasn’t been a necessity for me to set it up yet.”

Susan Baxter, a professor in the communication and performance studies department, said her voicemail is fully functional.

“My voicemail has been working just fine. I had trouble setting it up because I moved my office, but I called information technology and they walked me through it,” she said.

The College plans to continue to use the system without updates for now since work has been done to make it functional. Fowlkes said he advises any students and faculty who continue to have problems to contact telecommunications for assistance as he attempts to find a better service.

“We are looking into other options right now, such as other voicemail companies that are more reliable,” he said.