Regis University unplugged: Ongoing security threat forces old-school start to fall semester

Students line up to receive paper schedules as internet, phone services, email and online programs remain down

Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post
William Nunley, at podium, starts the practice debate in front of students in the Science Amphitheater of the Pomponio Science Building at Regis University earlier this year.

Regis University students headed back to college Monday are kicking it old school, picking up paper schedules of their classes on campus thanks to a “malicious threat” likely from outside the country that prompted the private Jesuit institution to pull its information technology services offline Thursday.

Signs reading “Keep calm and Regis on” and “Enjoy a break from the connected life” greeted students at the front of Clarke Hall atrium, where paper schedules were to be handed out Monday through today.

The website continues to serve as the mother ship for information lost when the college cut access Thursday to its website, phone service, university email and online programs that let professors and students access grades and assignments. The IT system went down amid summer school finals and the arrival of fall semester students on campus — a bustling time at the university.

University officials declined to say whether the situation was a ransomware attack, saying the matter is still under investigation.

“I regret the inconvenience this has caused, especially at this particular time,” read a statement from Regis University President John Fitzgibbons. “I appreciate your continued support during this frustrating time. This will not deter us from celebrating our new and returning Rangers as we start the new academic year. Please know our students continue to be our top priority.”

Despite the interruption, 2,000 undergraduates are back on campus Monday, going to class like it’s 1979. Many professors are going sans world wide web in their lessons for the time being.

Some administrators whose jobs are rendered near-impossible without IT access are choosing to go out into the world and do some good, said Jennifer Forker, spokeswoman for Regis University.

Regis admissions counselors spent their Monday helping students at Arrupe Jesuit High School with their college admission essays. Others are helping students find their classes. The religious university plans on instituting volunteer opportunities throughout the week to help internet-deficient hands keep busy with a positive mission.

“Our people are finding creative ways to get their work done — some are working from home, others are using hot spots on campus,” Forker said. “We’re making this work. If there’s ever a zombie apocalypse, we’ll be ready.”

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