Aston frustration mounts with phone-line difficulties

Aston Hall residents, who have been plagued by lingering problems, expressed frustration after a telephone malfunction last week.

Residents said last week’s phone glitch, where students were unable to make outgoing phone calls, was the second one this academic year. Students expressed difficulty finding a free line for phone calls or to use dial-up Internet access.

We don’t have Ethernet, and also it is impossible to make an outgoing phone call at night because there isn’t enough phone lines, sophomore Amanda Dietrich said. If someone were to get hurt at night they would probably die because there isn’t a phone line available.

Alexa Kim, director of Student and Academic Support Services Technology Communication, said the phone system in the residence hall is unique to the Aston. Most GW residence halls operate on the ACUS system. The ACUS system itemizes phone calls to each student using a six-digit code. Aston residents receive their bills directly from the Aston.

Sophomore resident Desdemona Keeler said residents were told that the plan would be switched to the ACUS system in November, but the change has not come to fruition.

When students said they were unable to make outgoing calls at the beginning of the year, the University added additional lines to increase the system capacity, Kim said.

It was a surprise when all of the sudden the issue began to resurface, said Kim, who added that last week’s problem, which was merely a malfunction, differed from the first. Kim said the technical malfunction was corrected.

But the recurring problem has caused some students to pursue other options.

I bought a cell phone because one, the phone is hard to get an outside line, and two, because the phone rates are outrageous, said sophomore Fred Newton, an Aston resident.

Though students complained about high phone rates, Kim said Aston residents should be charged the same 15-cents-a-minute long distance rate as ACUS users.

But residents insist their rate is higher – some saying as high as 50 cents a minute.

The latest problems with the phone system are included among a host of other resident concerns regarding issues, such as security and theft.

(The Aston) is not worth the price we pay for it, Keeler said. We don’t get a lot of the benefits of living on campus.

We pay more than a New Hall double, sophomore Tybee Kiejdan said. We have no Ethernet, bums come in when we are asleep, random people walk through, and we have people stealing. And it’s far – it’s a schlep.

Earlier this year, some residents returning from winter vacation discovered their laptop computers had been stolen. There was no recorded footage that could detect the source of the thefts because the residence hall is in the process of installing video cameras for security.

(Having no cameras) is really worrisome, junior Suzy Wise said. (UPD) said that it’s in progress. Well they had six months, and there are still no cameras.

Newton said he found it difficult to get in touch with maintenance personnel when he needed his garbage disposal fixed. He said the service was not up to par because they left a residue of corrosive material underneath his sink.

Dietrich, who transferred to GW in the fall semester, said she was unhappy with her placement in the Aston.

Why should transfer students be offered the most expensive housing that is the furthest away? Dietrich asked.

Despite student concerns, many students said they found the rooms nicer than what they saw in other residence halls, particularly Thurston Hall.

I still think it’s a great room because I am a sophomore, and I live on campus, sophomore Marcie Cohen said. Yet I still have a kitchen with a refrigerator. It’s just annoying because it’s a far walk.

Cohen said she still gets scared, and she often deadbolts her door when she sleeps.

The marble floors and amenities attracted freshman Justin Borodinsky, who chose to live in the Aston next year.

Borodinsky said he could have lived in other residence halls but chose the Aston because the amenities are amazing.

The only thing that they need to change is the security, Borodinsky said.

But the experience of living in the Aston has caused some students to pursue off-campus housing.

After living in this building and dealing with everything, I don’t want to be a part of it, Keeler said.

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