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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC Zoom now requires a password or waiting room in latest security policy change

DTH Photo Illustration. With all classes and clubs being operated online through Zoom, the new requirement to include either a password or waiting room may be confusing for students and faculty.

UNC Zoom users are required to utilize a password or the waiting room function in all of their meetings, as of Sept. 27.

For some, this change happened automatically. 

“Zoom implemented a change that affects any Zoom meeting that didn't have a waiting room applied, or a meeting password applied," Suzanne Cadwell, the director of educational technologies, said. "So if it has neither, a waiting room is going to be applied by default."

Cadwell said that managing a waiting room in a large class can be difficult. In order to mitigate this problem, UNC added an option for meeting hosts to allow UNC users to bypass the waiting room.

“So if someone sets this option in their profile settings, only external participants in a Zoom meeting would be put in the waiting room,” Cadwell said.

Many students who use Zoom links to access their meetings won’t notice much of a change because links can have passwords embedded into them, Cadwell said. 

Josh Williford, a sophomore political science major, said that the change was pretty simple and easy to adapt to.

“My German class actually instituted it about a week in advance, so we got some early experience with it through that,” Williford said.

And using passcodes hasn’t been inconvenient, Williford said.

“As for the whole passwords deal, I didn't find it all that much of an annoyance,” he said. “It's just as simple as putting in a little bit extra typing before you get into class. I just list them all out on a notepad so I have each one ready to go before class.”

Cadwell said this change will also impact personal Zoom calls and hopes to make meetings more secure and safe from users outside of the UNC network.

“From the complaints that we've heard, historically, the problems have been with external users who are uninvited participants into a meeting and causing disruptions,” she said.

Kate Hash, the assistant vice chancellor for customer experience and engagement, said that the surge of virtual meetings has made technology updates more frequent in order to better user experience.

“I think we're all going to have to get accustomed to lots of change a lot of the time going forward, which I think is a good thing,” Hash said. “I think constantly improving the platforms we use is important.”

Zoom and other video-conferencing platforms have changed school and workplace dynamics and will likely have impacts lasting long after the pandemic, she said.

“I think that virtual meetings may become the norm — it saves so much time, it saves resources, it's better for the environment and people aren’t driving all over campus for different meetings,” Hash said. “And I think it's going to fundamentally change the workplace, actually.”

Faculty or students can go to or call 919-962-HELP for issues related to these new Zoom policies. 


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