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Miami’s IT department absorbs MiTech, creating a new assistance center

After Miami's MiTech doors close, students won't have access to on-site tech repair.
After Miami's MiTech doors close, students won't have access to on-site tech repair.

Miami University’s MiTech store located in the Shriver Center will close its doors after the semester. Beginning April 1, Miami will als0 no longer provide on-campus hardware repair services or cost estimates, according to a recent statement from Miami’s IT services.

MiTech’s computer repair service and loaner program will be absorbed by Miami’s broader IT services, permanently closing MiTech’s personal-tech retail store.

In place of MiTech, a proposed “assistance center” will help students navigate personal tech issues and will continue operating Miami’s loaner computer service without any changes to the program. The center will help students with basic personal technology issues and offer assistance with software downloads, backups and general troubleshooting.

Nevertheless, students will no longer have access to on-site tech repair offered directly through Miami. Instead, the new assistance center will “assist clients in arranging manufacturer on-site and mail-in repairs for in-warranty laptops,” according to the statement. Devices with expired warranties will be referred to third-party service providers in the area.

David Seidl, vice president of Miami’s IT services and chief information officer, said that Miami’s decision to outsource more computer repairs to manufacturers and third-party providers stems largely from broader shifts in the tech industry.

“It used to be that you could pull a laptop apart and replace a component, but many of them are now highly integrated,” Seidl said. “So, [for example], if you’re a Mac user and your screen goes, it’s the entire top half of the laptop that gets replaced. Miami doesn’t have the capabilities to make repairs like that.”

Students will also no longer be able to purchase computers and other technology through the university. Instead, they’ll have to buy directly from manufacturers.

Randy Hollowell, a manager in Miami’s IT department, said this change won’t largely impact students. Most manufacturers, including Apple and Dell, offer educational pricing to students as long as they can provide proof of enrollment.

Seidl wanted to assure students that the university still wants to provide as much on-site tech help as possible.

“The goal is that you should not be sitting in Oxford without some opportunity to have the perfect technology to take to class,” Seidl said.

Seidl said some changes may be necessary regarding Miami’s loaner-computer program, but he does not anticipate those changes to fundamentally change the program’s function. However, Seidl said he’s unsure if this will cause technology repair prices to change. 

“We’re in the assessment of all of that,” Seidl said. “What we know for sure is that the computer store will not exist as a computer store. We are looking at what the ongoing [repair] business model is going to look like, what it takes to maintain financial viability, but also making sure that it’s a reasonable price model for students.”

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Seidl said MiTech’s retail component was closed down because the store wasn’t making enough money. Vince Smith, manager of the MiTech store, agreed.

The new assistance center is projected to open before the start of the fall 2024 semester. A location for the proposed site has not yet been determined, though Seidl confirmed that the next location will not be in the Shriver Center.