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Dishes no longer at Alumni

Katie Perry | Thursday, September 1, 2005

Alumni Hall dished out a ban on the installation of satellite television in its dorm rooms following an incident Associate Vice President for Residence Life William Kirk said cost the University “several thousand dollars.”

Andrew Breslin – the Alumni Hall resident assistant where the problem arose – said the incident involved both the fire protection system and the satellite systems erected by the students in his section.

“The exact cause has not been discerned directly, but the smoke alarm system in Alumni was damaged significantly,” Breslin said. “The satellite hook-ups may have played a part in the damage as wires were run near current smoke alarm wires, [but] this has not been ascertained.”

Breslin said the control boards connecting Alumni to the Notre Dame firehouse also faced significant damage, however the exact numerical value of this damage was not released to hall staff.

“Several thousand dollars worth of fire detection equipment within Alumni Hall has suffered damage,” Kirk said. “It may have occurred when students attempted to extend cables through the lengths of several hallways.”

But although satellite television has been outlawed in Alumni, DirecTV dishes flourish elsewhere on campus – namely in men’s residence halls.

“As long as the installation of dishes can be accomplished safely and in no way damages University property or obstructs University activity, they have generally been permitted,” Kirk said.

Farley senior Caitlin Smith recently purchased a DirecTV package with her three roommates. Smith said the satellite system is the first she has seen in the women’s dorm during her four years of living there.

“I think that maybe males watch more television – especially sports on channels such as ESPN – than girls, so they’re more willing to get a satellite,” she said.

Smith said she and her roommates found that most all satellite systems on campus belong to men’s dorms and that people have been “surprised” they have made the effort to have one in their Farley Hall room.

“We wanted to get a satellite because of the poor reception in our room – we couldn’t even get local channels,” Smith said. “We also wanted to be able to watch CNN and MTV at our own discretion.”

But despite the apparent advantages of DirecTV and other satellite television systems, some students have decided the better picture quality and wide-range of programming do not outweigh the hassle.

Tom O’Grady, a junior from Dillon Hall, said last year he split the cost of a satellite television system with approximately ten other people from his dorm.

“I decided not to do it this year because it was such a pain to maintain throughout the year,” O’Grady said. “The poor guy who put it on his credit card was always politely reminding us for money, and the satellite always seemed to be out of reception half the time we wanted to watch it. One time we just wanted to watch an ND [football] away game and ended up missing the first quarter because we had to point the satellite.”

While students like O’Grady criticize the screen image appearance of satellite systems, Kirk is concerned the accumulation of dishes has taken away from Notre Dame’s aesthetic quality.

“Personally, I believe that the dishes are unsightly and detract from the beauty of campus,” Kirk said. “I’m hopeful that eventually there will be a solution that allows for their removal.”