It’s been seven years, yet wireless remains a low-priority project with no finish line in sight. Considering the popularity of laptops and other wireless mobile devices among students, it is time that Information Technology gives this project the attention it deserves an organized approach with a timetable.
The absence of wireless is both an inconvenience and hindrance for the UR community, especially as course materials increasingly transfer to Blackboard and Rush Rhees Library’s online reserves. Without Wi-Fi, students are forced to resort to buying personal routers for their dormitories, which is evidence that a pressing need for wireless exists.
The biggest problem with the current method is that budgeting is not consolidated. Instead, academic buildings and Residential Life must find funding within their own budgets to finance this project. IT should assume the financial and planning responsibility of this project to expedite the process. Even with a budget, this initiative would not be completed overnight, but at least IT would take a step closer to setting a deadline.
The Students’ Association’s Projects and Services committee is compiling a priority list of areas that should first receive Wi-Fi, which includes Todd Union and Tiernan Hall. Currently Todd has only one computer kiosk to serve its dual purpose as a theatre and post office, while Tiernan is now the only freshman residence without Wi-Fi services. Though not listed among the committee’s priority list, Douglass Dining Center is in great need of wireless as a high-trafficked 24-hour facility, it should join Todd and Tiernan as IT’s top priorities.
Making a wireless campus-wide service requires an official strategy and the finances for extending wireless to the dormitories. For too long, IT has not been held accountable for its failure to offer a service essential in a wireless age.