Chicago Shady Dealer

What Happens Between Pre-Reg and Schedule Release

To the chagrin of unsuspecting students who were already grappling with running complicated game theory calculations in their heads to determine how to rank their classes, pre-registration resolution is now a week longer than normal. This recent change has provoked an outpouring of frustration, with students blaming the malfeasance and incompetence of the computer science department for yet another of their woes. Intriguingly, an investigation by the Shady Dealer has revealed that the computer science department is not to blame. We would never stoop so low as to absolve the administration of blame for its misdeeds, however, and the results of our research have only confirmed our resolve. Continuing our long and storied tradition of cunning espionage, we donned fake mustaches and pretending to carry large boxes of paperwork. Then, we snuck into the registrar’s office and uncovered secret communications between the registrar’s office and Shadow Inc, the company responsible for developing the app used so effectively in the Iowa Democratic party caucuses. As is our moral duty, we have published our findings in the goriest detail possible.

         The communications outlined a plan to replace the pre-registration resolution algorithm with an application designed exclusively for the University of Chicago by Shadow, Inc. The application mentioned would gather the ranked course preferences of all students directly from the app, without having to go through my.UChicago, and transmit them to a central database. Upon placing the data in the central server, the app would then run an algorithm, giving courses to students based on such various factors as time spent in the College, Core course status, number of followers on TikTok, amount of pro-Dean-Zimmer  / Boyer content posted on social media, and preference for pineapple and anchovies on pizza. Out of this efficiently designed machine would come thousands of schedules for individual students, efficiently optimized to give them adequate time in the day for non-academic activities.

         All this was fine and good, but our hackers…err, we mean investigators, discovered multiple alarming security flaws in the app that would allow pranksters to access the course database and throw students out of courses or reassign professors. Moreover, the administration had apparently already attempted to use the application to give students their schedules, but the data transmission had failed, explaining the delay in getting pre-registration results. The difficulty in the registrar’s office was compounded by the fact that someone had apparently misplaced the paper copies of students’ course preferences, and in many cases the results from Shadow’s application did not match the paper results. The most recent emails between the two parties was filled with heated invective; the university administration castigated “twenty-year-old buffoonish basement dwellers who wasted all of our economically-efficiently-spent money” while Shadow’s developers retorted that the administration was comprised of “boomers who don’t know the difference between a for and while loop.”

         Students had already been muttering that the pre-registration resolution process was like waiting for the Iowa caucus results, but it was all the more surprising when they were told the link was legitimate. “At this point, I think a guy sitting in a windowless room assigning all the courses by hand would be more effective,” one clearly fatigued student complained. We at the Shady Dealer, along with the rest of the UChicago student body, look forward to receiving our courses by reading period of this quarter – at least, while reading period still exists.

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