Elizabeth City State University officials are investigating a computer service disruption that has shut down the campus’s online classes.
University officials said Tuesday the university became aware Sunday of a service disruption affecting some systems within ECSU’s computer network.
“In accordance with ECSU protocols, we promptly commenced an investigation with the assistance of information technology experts,” university officials said in a statement. “We are approaching this incident with the utmost seriousness and are focused on restoring operations as quickly and as safely as possible.”
All of ECSU’s online classes are affected.
“One of the systems impacted is Blackboard, which is the platform ECSU utilizes for online classes and the day-to-day communication with students, including syllabi, assignments, etc.,” the university said. “We regret any inconvenience or concern this may cause, and we are continuing to take steps to restore operations as quickly and as safely as possible.”
The disruption affects a high percentage of ECSU students.
Because of COVID-19 precautions, 41 percent of ECSU classes this semester are fully online and an additional 33 percent are being conducted through a mixture of in-person and online instruction.
The university said officials have not seen any evidence as yet of any data breach in connection with the service disruption.
“We have been methodically working to determine which systems were involved in this incident and our investigation is still ongoing,” the university said. “To date, we have no evidence that any ECSU data has been subject to unauthorized access.”
University officials said ECSU’s investigation is ongoing. They could not answer whether the problem is broader than ECSU.
The university also declined to say Tuesday who or what might have triggered the service disruption.
“The IT experts are assisting us with the investigation,” the university said. “Because our assessment is still ongoing, complete findings are not available, and it is too early to provide further details.”
A spokesman for Blackboard said Tuesday afternoon the outage appears to be isolated to ECSU’s network. The platform is not experiencing issues with its system, the spokesman said.
ECSU trustees held an emergency closed session via videoconference Tuesday afternoon with the university’s attorney. A campus press release said the meeting was held to discuss a legal matter. It was not clear if the meeting had any connection to the computer service disruption.