Crazy over CASPER

Jason Okamoto

At the beginning of every semester, I have a fling with the same woman.

I spend hours meticulously preparing, so everything will go smoothlyduring our rendezvous. When we first engage in our little lyrical tango,she is polite and asks questions, however, soon after, she takes a turnfor the worse.

One moment, she is asking me what I want, the next moment turning me down,and advising me to take my trivial desires elsewhere. This is the time when our dates have never gone well.

I mean, she has allof the control. She sets the days and times we meet, demands aridiculous amount of attention (lulls in conversation are rewarded withher immediate withdrawal), and her curfew is a childishly early 7 p.m.As badly as she treats me, semester after semester, I keep crawling backto her.

I have no choice. And I’m not alone. You’ve probably been with her, too. “She” is the Computer Access StudentPhone Entry Registration.

When you’re a freshman taking the tour of the campus for the first time,they make using CASPER sound easy and fun, leaving out the part aboutendless busy signals and the ever disappointing, “The course you haveselected is…full…”

On top of the overall annoying anxiety of being rejected, there are acouple particular stresses that CASPER could relieve but, for now, theuniversity officials have chosen to leave the system as is.

Like the 12-hour access window. CASPER’s phone lines are only open from 7a.m. to 7 p.m. during the week, and only one day each weekend isinconvenient. Although the early bird may catch the worm, who’s to say that the nightowls can’t make moves of their own?

With a closing hour that comes before my dinnertime, it’s not that easyjust to pick up the phone and dial.

Personally, I like to set aside a good half-hour putting myself in a Zenmind-state before calling in. Some students might have work hours notcompatible to CASPER. Others might still be in class.

So what would it take for CASPER to stay awake a couple more hours? After all, it is a computer service, and last time I checked, computersdon’t have a bedtime. Other schools, like UC Davis, have registrationsystems that are open till midnight.

Recognizing the ever-growing population of students at Sacramento Stateand the need for a more efficient registration system, the AssociatedStudents Inc. has recently addressed the issue.

The Board of Directors passed a piece of legislation that shouldtake steps to begin to improve the process. Along with pushing for CASPERto have a wider timeframe, ASI wants it open on weekends, and also ispushing for virtual access to student records and files.

Zachary Donohue, Associated Students Arts and Letters Director, and theprimary writer of the CASPER legislation, finds the registration processon a growing campus is a huge issue, and hopes that their actions willwork for the students.

“We are just trying to make things easier for the students, by making theregistration process less annoying,” he said.

Although it is obvious I support ASI’s efforts, there is the harsh realitythat we students just might have to just live with what we have.

Brian Smyth, Manager of Administrative Computing,oversees CASPER. Heexpects the program will be history by 2005, replaced with avoice-activated system. Around the same time, a program, developed bysoftware giant PeopleSoft, will most likely replace CasperWeb, which isused by almost half of registering students.

According to Smyth, the reason CASPER isn’t being immediately made over ismoney. And he poses a legitimate question: With the recent budgetconstraints, is it really worth it spending money on CASPER?

The part of me that has senior priority answers, “No.” The part of me thathas been burned by bad dates with CASPER says, “Hell, yes.”

Word has it that the only improvement coming soon is expanding the numberof registration days. That’s a start.

ASI’s work to improve our registration system deserves applause, andhopefully in cooperation with CASPER, they can make things a bit easierfor students before 2005.