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Plan proposed to provide cable in dorms

Laird, Katie | Tuesday, April 5, 2005

As the new Notre Dame student body representatives settle into their new positions, plans are well underway to improve student life, including the possibility of attaining cable in the dorms. Student body president Dave Baron said although cable was not underlined on his and vice president Lizzi Shappell’s platform earlier in the semester, he hopes to work with the University to see what the possibilities are for the future. “[Cable] is a major aspect of improvements to campus technology that we will be pressing, along with getting printers in every dorm and putting wireless internet connection in dorm social spaces,” Baron said. “The investigation of feasibility and implementation of this prospect will be a priority in our administration.” Student government representatives met with OIT chief information officer Gordon Wishon last month to see what processes would have to take place before cable could be approved. As with any technology enhancement, there are many logistic and economic challenges that must be settled before Student Affairs can approve the cable, including cost and installation fees, Wishon said.”The Officers of the University and the Board of Trustees are very sensitive to the cost of tuition, room and board and are not at all anxious to add an even greater burden of cost onto students and parents,” Wishon said. He said the University will not be able to absorb the cost of the cable installation and fees due to the range of academic needs competing for scarce funding.The other obstacle that student government faces, according to Wishon, is the process of installing the cable into every residence hall and dorm room. “Installation of cable in every residence hall would take months,” Wishon said. “[It] would be disruptive to students’ lives, since it would involve crews of installers pulling cable through and behind walls, and across ceilings … in addition, a solution to the problem of the cost of installation and service will need to be found.”Some students have hooked up satellite television in their dorms, which hasstirred response. Some men’s dorms and many women’s dorms do not allow satellites.”They’re irregular across the board on which dorms allow and which don’t allowsatellites … There have been some complaints about that,” Baron said.There has been some concern regarding potentially negative effects of community cable. “I question the validity of this,” Baron said, explaining that many students move off campus because of the absence of cable, thus damaging the community that is supposed to be preserved. He believes the overall benefits of cable for the students are very useful. “The academic benefits in terms of access to local, national and world news will be invaluable,” Baron said. Wishon agreed, saying the benefits of dorm cable, besides the obvious entertainment value, are many. “We would expect to use the cable TV service to deliver content of academic interest, such as foreign language programs, pre-recorded seminars of special interest and distribution of video from live events occurring on campus, such as performances taking place in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center,” he said. Student government representatives plan to meet this month with the Residence Life Chair and Wishon to discuss what still needs to be worked out before the next step can be taken and the possibility of starting work this summer, Baron said.