Unexpected headaches come with federal shutdown
The impact was felt by students who rely on government informational resources for research
October 1, 2013, 9:55 pm · Updated October 1, 2013, 11:09 pm·
The government shutdown has caused some unexpected headaches for Penn students.
Several databases — including those of the Census Bureau, the Education Resources Information Center and the National Center for Education Statistics — fell victim to a “lapse in appropriations and the partial shutdown of the federal government,” a message on the education databases’ websites said.
The impact was felt by students who rely on those resources for research projects. “The government #shutdown affects access to some electronic resources, including the Census. Got a question? We can help find alternatives,” @AskVanPelt tweeted, before referring students to other copies of several databases.
With a PennKey login, students can create tables and maps using Census data hosted externally and can access some educational data on another website.
Despite Van Pelt’s assistance, at least one professor has postponed a due date because of the shutdown. “In the event that you were using this afternoon to complete your data analysis assignments, you may not have access to the [Survey of Business Owners] website,” sociology professor Tamara Nopper told students in her “Ethnic Economies and Globalization” class in an email. “As such, the assignment deadline will be extended for ONE DAY after the census website is back up.”
Another, bioengineering professor Beth Winkelstein, had to change class plans at the last minute due to the shutdown. Her 8 a.m. research methods class was originally planned to end early so she could attend a National Institutes of Health conference — which ended up being canceled.
In what must have been a tourist-irking development, the Liberty Bell also closed today because it is run by the National Park Service — deemed a “non-essential” government function, and thus subject to shutdown. For the historically minded, all is not lost: the Constitution Center is still open.
In Washington, few inroads were made on Tuesday to break the partisan impasse. Several moderate Republicans congressmen — including four from Pennsylvania — have begun supporting a “clean” bill to fund the government, one free of demands to scale back the 2010 health care reform law. Party leaders, however, have not yet introduced a clean appropriations bill, which is likely the only type of bill that could pass both the House and the Senate.