Telephone lines tie up Dakota

Some Dakota residents said they are exasperated over sharing one phone line between four roommates and four computers, while GW housing officials and Dakota staff are doing little to assist them.

At GW, where nearly every on-campus housing facility is equipped with individual phone lines and Ethernet connections for each student, some Dakota residents said their perpetually busy phone lines are unfair and unmanageable.

“It’s frustrating,” junior Anslie Stokes said. “The line is never free for incoming calls.”

On top of that, she said, she and two of her three roommates are students in the School of Business and Public Management. Many of their classes rely heavily on Internet use for class work and communication of assignments.

The Community Living and Learning Center rented half of the Dakota apartment building at 2100 F St. this year for on-campus housing. Assistant Dean of Students Mark Levine said CLLC made students aware of the Dakota’s telephone and Internet capabilities. He said they were published in the “Home and Campus” publication issued by the University last spring before the room selection lottery. Levine said he personally pointed out the phone line deficit on pre-lottery tours of the Dakota.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think many students made use of those tours,” he said.

But an avalanche of conflicting information is confounding students. Stokes queried a Dakota office employee last week about having a new phone line installed in the room, and she was instructed to call telephone service provider Bell Atlantic. When she called, a service representative told her no new lines could be added to on-campus residences.

Suzanne Grega and her roommate asked Dakota staff about adding phone lines to their on-campus room. She said they were told to direct all questions to the University, not Dakota management.

A representative for H.G. Smithy, who asked to remain anonymous, said Bell Atlantic could indeed add phone lines to on-campus rooms. H.G. Smithy manages the Dakota building for GW. The representative said each Dakota apartment could be wired for up to three phone lines. But unlike most GW students, students living in on-campus Dakota rooms must pay for additional lines.

“I would at least like housing services to pay for the extra line, considering we have no Ethernet access like everybody else,” Stokes said.

At the Mount Vernon campus, where about 100 students are without Ethernet access, GW has provided each of them with wireless modems to use for the school year.

Stokes and her roommates said they looked into renting a wireless modem from the University through Colonial Computers, but were told renting services were not available. The cost of purchasing a wireless modem is between $300 and $500.

“Last year I lived in Madison Hall, and we dealt with not having Ethernet and sharing a phone line between the two of us all year long.” Grega said. “Now there’s four of us, and it is so much worse. I’d hoped this year would be better.”

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