February 13, 2002

Students Voice Concerns At CIT ResNet Discussion

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Students voiced their concerns about the ResNet rate increase and environmental awareness at a forum held by Cornell Information Technologies (CIT) last night.

Both CIT staff and students considered the increasing price of ResNet, the residential dorm network service, from $205 annually this year to $400 beginning next fall.

“Using the guidelines that the University has given us, we have no other options,” said Wes Kahle, director of customer services and marketing for CIT.

Searching for other options, students mentioned the possibility of bringing the off-campus RoadRunner cable service into dorm rooms. Kahle, however, said what ended that possibility for them.

“Behind the scenes there is more than just cable,” he said, alluding to physical obstacles to installing RoadRunner on campus.

One by one, student proposals such as using the free and wireless RedRover service were ruled out as not feasible.

“There are not many simple solutions at Cornell,” Kahle said.

The students present, however, resisted the suggestion that this issue is resolved.

“Affordable, high-speed, Internet access should be a fundamental student right,” said Abeezer Tapia ’02, chair of the Student Assembly’s (S.A.) CIT committee. “Some part of the University needs to pick up the slack and make ResNet affordable.”

“ResNet needs to be in financial aid packages,” said Funa Maduka ’04, minority representative on the S.A. “How are we going to help students afford this?”

Polley McClure, vice president for Information Technologies, explained the difficulties with helping students afford ResNet for next year.

“Decisions on things like what is going to be funded through tuition or housing is decided in the fall. It’s not possible to address next year’s problem this late in the year.”

Rhea Thomas ’04 did not pay for ResNet her freshman year and used the free CIT computing labs for her work. “I felt it was ridiculously priced then,” she said.

Thomas and others have complained about the limitations of CIT computing labs.

“It seems like the size of North has increased, but the labs haven’t,” said Scott Selikoff ’03.

Now living off campus, Thomas pays $125 annually for DSL service, a high-speed connection over the phone line. “I wouldn’t think of moving back to campus because it’s too expensive,” she said.

In a comparison done by Selikoff, ResNet is $23 more expensive a year than RoadRunner for one user. RoadRunner, however, can be split by several residents. One student living in a house with three other residents would pay only $128.05, according to his calculations.

Other students also expressed concerns on how CIT’s activities affected the environment.

Garrett Meigs ’04 pressed CIT to use 100 percent recycled paper in their public computing labs. The labs currently use 30 percent recycled paper.

Other environmental issues addressed the use of Energy Star products in the computer labs. Energy Star saves electricity by reducing the electric demand of computers when not in use.

Archived article by Peter Norlander