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File sharing, bookstore discounts dominate discussion

Amanda Michaels | Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Committee on Residence Life led the majority of the discussion during Wednesday night’s student Senate meeting, gathering feedback on possible file sharing programs and bookstore discount options.

Committee member Bren-dan McHugh revived the subject of Ruckus Network – the file sharing service introduced to senators last week as a possibility for legal music and movie downloads on campus – though this time he wanted to hear what the dorms had to say about the program.

An alternative to Napster, Ruckus would provide Notre Dame students with music, select movies and campus lecture downloads for a cost of $6 per month.

The drawbacks to the program, besides its monthly cost, include the fee charged for every song downloaded from Ruckus and burned onto a CD or transferred to an mp3 player and the 1,000-student user minimum for the service to be installed.

Senators said the overriding opinion of the students they talked to was that current file sharing avenues (though illegal) were acceptable sources, but that a few seemed open to the option.

“There are a lot of people that will just [download files] the illegal way, but you could find 1,000 scared enough to want to do it legally,” Stephanie Pelligra, Welsh Family senator, said.

Senators also said the monthly rate and extra transfer fee – especially if built into the tuition bill, as was briefly suggested – were major turn-offs for their constituents.

“From what I gathered, students think iTunes is just as good,” Megan Canavan, Lyons senator, said. “It’s got all the songs in the store, without [Ruckus’] monthly fee.”

Next from the Committee on Residence Life came an update on attempts to secure an automatic bookstore discount for students, like the faculty currently enjoys.

“Basically, from talking to [the bookstore], we’re not going to be able to do the 24/7 discount,” Sarah Bates, committee chair, said.

Bates did say the committee will continue to work with the bookstore to secure monthly discounts and to make it a more prominent presence on campus. She asked that senators gather feedback on these options from their hall residents.

In other Senate news:

u Chief executive assistant and student body president-elect Dave Baron announced the days and times for three focus groups. The information from these groups will influence April’s Board of Trustees report, which will focus on solutions to the diversity problems discussed in the February report. Covering the same topics as last time, but aiming at suggestions for policy-fixes, the group on racism will be held on Feb. 20, heterosexism on Feb. 21 and sexism on Feb. 27, all at 8 p.m. in the student government office in 203 LaFortune.

u Siegfried senator James Leito discussed options for changing the student government election schedule to give the outgoing leaders more of a chance to wrap up their terms and the newly-elected more time to prepare before taking office. Debate ended without a conclusion.

u Leito also said he was contacted by associate athletic director John Heisler about the “Welcome Weis” tour Leito and his running mate Jordan Bongiovanni pushed during their recent campaign for student body president and vice president. Leito said that Weis unexpectedly expressed the desire to start the tour as soon as next week. Though no details are solidified as of yet, Leito said the rough plan entails Weis visiting a brother-sister dorm group from 10 to 11 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays until he covers all the residence halls.