Where were you on December 31, 1999 at 11:59pm? I was sitting in my grandparents’ house in New York State huddled on the floor with a survival kit I had gotten for Christmas just days before. Meanwhile, in Dover Delaware, College administrators at Delaware State University were waiting to determine if winter break should be extended due to a mass failure of technology. 10!...9!...8!...
It was Y2K. New Year’s Eve in 1999 was a time of mass panic as people around the world waited for the moment when computers would destroy the world as we knew it, or so they thought. There was a flaw in the internal clocks of computers in which they only had two digits instead of four designated to calculate the calendar year. The simple lack of two digits would cause computers to revert to the year 1900 instead of advance to 2000. This, it was theorized, had the potential to power down technology around the world.
In the years prior to the year 2000, Y2K compliance committees were established anywhere where technology was utilized – essentially everywhere - in schools, businesses, medical facilities, modes of transportation, public utilities, etc. Delaware State University was no exception.
Last week a report from the 1999 Y2K compliance committee at DSU was uncovered within the university archives. Enjoy these excerpts from the DSU report, and relive the panic in a short video clip from National Geographic. Today we are able to laugh at the Y2K incident as it fades into the obscurity of history.
Written by Joy Scherry