Staff editorial: Disconnected

For a University that prides itself on its cutting-edge technology and innovative residence hall system, GW’s inadequate phone system is unacceptable. Aston Hall is still not included in the campus phone network that allows five-digit dialing to other campus phones free of charge, separate bills for local and long distance calls and free incoming calls from campus lines. And students are still charged for calls to the Dakota.

Despite assurances from GW administrators that Aston residents would have the same service as other on-campus residents, Aston Hall is not included in the AT&T plan that GW offers students living in all other residence halls. The result is higher costs to students, no matter where they live, and unnecessary hassles for Aston residents.

Aston residents are charged for a local call when they dial on-campus numbers unless they take their phone bill to Aston management to get the charges removed. Students in other residence halls who call the Aston are also charged for a local off-campus call. The same is true for dialing the Dakota, whose phones also do not have campus extensions. While the extra charge of nine cents per call to these buildings is not astronomical, the fee is unnecessary and is contrary to the system of an on-campus network for free calling.

Aston residents also do not receive individual bills that ensure they will pay for only the calls they make, forcing them to separate the charges among roommates. Atop the billing fiasco, Aston residents cannot use a six-digit personal identification number to charge calls to their account. In all other residence halls, students dial a six-digit PIN to make an off-campus call, ensuring that the bill goes to the person making the call and not the unfortunate resident whose phone they stumbled across. This security measure should be added to residence halls that lie outside the University’s borders.

There is little doubt that Dakota residents are happy with the free local calls their phone service provides. But students are upset when they are treated differently depending on the residence hall available to them at the housing lottery. If a student ends up in the Dakota, he must remember to dial 8 before calling a campus number. If someone lands in the Aston, she must remember to keep track of which calls are hers, and then ask for on-campus calls to be removed from the bill. GW should provide equal service to all on-campus residents. A centralized phone system is essential for all students living in the residence halls, not just the lucky ones.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.