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Professor recounts tale of salary and IT system nightmare

Heated debate after Professor criticises the intranet, the salary system and IT systems

Comments have yo-yo-ed back and forth on our Danish sister site since Johnny Kondrup, a professor at the Department of Scandinavian Studies and Linguistics, lampooned KUnet, the university wage system and University IT to our Danish sister site.

Kondrup said he received a payslip stating that he owed the university DKK 34,363.56 with no explanation whatsoever. A journey through a digitised Kafka-esque nightmare ensued:

Kondrup wasted days going through automated telephone menus, only to find that no matter what option he selected, he was sent back to the start; experiencing online error notifications, only to be instructed in online shortcuts, having to chase dead hyperlinks, leading to further error notifications etc. etc.

See the featured comment and comments for yourself here.

‘Can we please not have dead links?’

Feeling that this was a waste of both his and the university’s time and money, Kondrup presented five open questions to the university:

1. Would it not be reasonable (and polite) to check messages stating that university employees owed unusually large sums of money, prior to sending such a message, as well as including a written explanation if this turned out not be an error?
2. Is it not possible to let employees know if their KUnet password needs renewing, say, two weeks in advance?
3. Is it completely impossible to create an intranet system, with a smooth and functioning login procedure?
4. Is it impossible to get the internal website to function so they do not (often) contain dead links and errors?
5. Would it not be reasonable for answer phones to work and for telephone hours to be stuck to – and that, in usual cases (for example if an entire department was at a seminar), a notification was posted on the website, stating when the phones would be open again?

Sympathetic comments started rolling in:

‘Too expensive not to fix’

A lecturer recognised the scenario all too well, describing having to renew their password, finding that they were unable to log-on to eduroam (UCPH’s network) to find out how to do so, as the same password applies. The same person said that they had never experienced anything like it when they worked in the private sector:

»In the private sector, IT problems are solved within five minutes – it is quite simply too expensive to let [other, non-IT] specialists spend 1-2 hours a week fixing that kind of problem.«

»Suck it up,« writes Steffen, a student, »the only difference [between students and staff] is that the thousands of students who point out such mistakes don’t get the chance to complain in the university paper« [A performative contradiction, Steffen just did, ed.].

Answers to follow

Uniavisen’s moderators indeed do point out that if any student submit a criticism, they will happily publish it, as long is it sticks to regular debate rules. Steffen is immediately criticised for lowering the tone and not being constructive:

»Say “It sucks” instead (that’s perhaps the more diplomatic thing to do in the first place) and ask to have the problems fixed,« writes Jesper C.W. to Steffen.

The article has been forwarded to the salary department, and Uniavisen is awaiting an answer.

See the IT service’s response to the criticism here.

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