By Chris Tait
Residence students will pay more in residence fees next year with the implementation of a new, mandatory telephone and Internet package.
The $300 program includes a phone line and high-speed Internet connection for each student in residence.
"I think it works out to $37.50 a month," calculated Residence Students’ Association President Bryan West, based on per-student figures. "On the research I’ve done myself, high speed Internet itself is $42.95 a month and regular phone is [about] $24. You’re taking almost a $30 deduction [for a single line]. If you look at it that way, it’s a pretty good deal."
However, not everyone agrees with the economic advantage of the new policy.
Many students living in four-bedroom residence apartments are annoyed that it offers them less financial freedom. With the old system, students could share one phone line to save money, instead of the $1,200 a year for four separate lines.
"I think it’s ridiculous that they’re making students pay even if they don’t own a computer, and they have [a] cell phone," said third-year student Tariq Albarwani. "It’s not so much the money, I have to pay for things I don’t need or want."
Even for those students living in traditional residence, with two students in a single 15-by-12-foot room, the idea of two people speaking on the phone at the same time can seem unreasonable.
"In that way, it’s just like the U-Pass," explained West. "Some people will get a great deal out of it, others won’t."
Many are concerned by the lack of communication from Residence Services regarding changes this year. The three major issues for most students that they feel had not been properly communicated were the new process for readmission into residence, the policy for leaving residence 24 hours after student’s last exam and the current phone issue.
"Everyone just dropped their jaw," recalled Rundle Hall Student Representative Sen Nguyen. "Someone brought it up out of the blue. You’d think that us, being an organization close to Residence Services and responsible for informing students that we’d hear about it before the [rest]."
"We originally came to [the Residence Advisory Committee, a university committee] and asked ‘what would it be like if we did this?’" recounted Residence Director Jim Dunsdon. "We decided that we should do it. At the end of the day, it’s probably easier for [students]."
In RAC’s defence, West, who is also a member of RAC, explained that from their standpoint, the proposal from Residence Services appeared to be a simple idea and he re- called being surprised after hearing the actual policy had been implemented.
According to Richard Bergen, both the RSA Vice-President External and a member of RAC, Residence Services should have better informed students.
"It wasn’t really communicated to students [except for] at that meeting," said Bergen. "I think the onus is much more on them to tell everyone about it."
There was a general sentiment of frustration at the bi-weekly RSA meeting Wed., Apr. 7, where the lack of communication was discussed. The executive admitted the problem exists not only between Residence Services and RSA, but also with RAC.