Registration problems cause chaos

Sounds of frustration echoed throughout Florida A&M University’s Grand Ballroom Wednesday as many students waited in long lines to register for classes and gain access to their iRattler/OurFAMU accounts.

Some students like Tajuan Griffin, 20, a sophomore engineering student from Charleston, S.C., said they have waited more than 10 hours to register.

Due to iRattler/OurFAMU system upgrades, students were unable to enroll in classes or pay financial obligations from Dec. 17, 2008 to Jan. 5, 2009.

With the semester having started Jan. 6, many students said they are upset the system is still malfunctioning.

“The school should have taken care of this a long time ago,” said James Saint-Fleur, 20, a junior criminal justice student from Hollywood, Fla. “This is why [FAMU] had a break and the system shut down for a couple of days.”

Other students agreed and said that while they are pleased to have a new system, they are not satisfied with the university’s lack of preparation.

“I’m happy to see that FAMU is making improvements, but a little disheartened that they were under prepared for the thousands of students to go through this process,” Griffin said.

One student said the whole system upgrade should have been postponed.

“I think [FAMU] should have waited until everyone got registered,” said Jason Allen, 24, a junior engineering student from Ft. Lauderdale. “It’s a hassle.”

According to Michael James, information technology director for the student system, approximately 8,000 students were fully registered before Monday’s temporary shutdown.

Although students said the university could have been more organized, they said employees were helpful.

“They’ve been nice but you can tell they are agitated,” Griffin said. “I’m enlightened to see they are doing as much as they can.”

With some students already disappointed with several hours of waiting, those remaining in line around 4:30 p.m. received an announcement that the system would be shut down again at 5 p.m.

Immediately, students expressed dissatisfaction when they heard the news. “People have been turned away again and again for the same [issues] because the system keeps malfunctioning,” Saint-Fleur said.

Some students said they expected the new system, iRattler/OurFAMU, to encounter technical difficulties.

“Me and my (friend) predicted [system malfunctions] like two weeks ago,” said Brandon Blue, 25, a junior education student from Panama City. “[We knew] the system wouldn’t be working this first week (of school).”

Students also said the inconvenience has altered their perception of the university.

“I heard good things about [FAMU], but right now I am not impressed,” said Allen, a first year transfer student from Tallahassee Community College.

With all the mishaps, some students said they are still remaining optimistic.

“I have a positive attitude because I have to love FAMU regardless because it is the greatest school on this side of the Mississippi,” Blue said. “It’s nothing FAMU can do to upset me right now.”