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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

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    Student technology fee important, useful

    Like a politician trying to obfuscate the facts of his voting record before Election Day, I find it troubling to watch the Graduate and Professional Student Council consistently label the increase in the student technology fee as wasteful and unnecessary, when they have failed to inform themselves of benefits of the tech fee increase and have not considered the long-term consequences of not gaining a fee increase.

    For GPSC President Paul Thorn to say that wireless Internet access was available to all students who needed it in the Sept. 14 article “”Tech fee may see $50 rise for next year”” was both irresponsible and incorrect. The two colleges he mentioned (the James E. Rogers College of Law and the Eller College of Management) both have significant differential tuition fees and recently approached the Center for Computing Information and Technology to take over their current wireless network installations because their existing systems had become inadequate. In the survey on tuition priorities, GPSC reports that 84.5 percent of graduate student respondents (which is quite different than saying 85 percent of all graduate students, as quoted by Elaine Ulrich in Friday’s article “”GPSC shares its concerns””) were opposed to the fee increasing from $50 to $100. This opposition is not at all surprising, as the respondents had little to no information about the greater context of the fee increase. That almost 15 percent of the respondents without such information have said they would be willing to pay twice as much is actually the much more compelling statistic.

    In reporting the GPSC survey results, Thorn suggests that “”Wireless is not something that is used as much.”” Perhaps Thorn should have considered the 9,000-plus individual wireless users currently registered for it or spoken with just one of the more than 700 simultaneous users logged into the UAWiFi network (which happens on a regular basis, when fewer than half of the access points have been activated). Imagine for a second what future students investigating the UA will now think when coming from wireless high schools or other university campuses. The UA isn’t the only university campus across the country or even in the state to invest in wireless technology; all four Arizona State University campuses became wireless last spring (see www.asu.edu/it/wireless).

    There is no question that students are the primary consumers of wireless networking, and students increasingly rely on the campus network for almost every aspect of their education. In my experience working with hundreds of graduate students, the most precious resource they have is time. Wireless networking is one technology that can actually deliver time savings each day and bring new efficiencies to their entire working lives as students, teachers and researchers. The ability to work in many different campus locations allows for the kind of flexibility prized by most graduate students with very busy lives.

    The network infrastructure, the instructional computing resources (departmental and universitywide, such as the D2L learning management system) and the classroom technology at the UA cost millions of dollars each year to operate, and the demand for these resources has grown substantially in recent years. At the same time, the entire university has faced significant reductions in state funding, necessitating the need for difficult funding cuts to be made across the institution at all levels. The colleges are now largely wrung dry, and it is in the margins of discretionary funding that further technology investment expenses will likely be sought, as the likelihood of any new major sources of funding appearing is increasingly remote. Sadly, these discretionary funds also happen to be the same sources of funding for many of the graduate assistant/associate benefits.

    Hale Thomas
    educational psychology graduate student
    instructional computing manager, College of Humanities administration

    Graduate students best served by GPSC

    I am writing to clarify some points of the discussion that took place at the recent GPSC meeting with President Robert Shelton. The claim of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona to represent graduate students occasionally damages the interests of graduate students because it can lead to a lack of graduate student consultation on decisions about university policies and services. This can happen when a campus unit is oblivious to the undergraduate focus of ASUA or to the size of the graduate student population (8,000-plus), or when a campus unit just prefers to limit itself to consultation with ASUA because it isn’t prepared to be responsive to two groups of student representatives, especially in cases where the graduate students are likely to articulate additional needs or demands. It might appear that increased graduate student representation within the ASUA would help prevent situations where graduate students are not consulted and their concerns are unheard or overlooked.

    However, an “”enhanced”” ASUA that included an increase in graduate student representation would still remain far less able than the GPSC to understand and articulate the concerns of graduate students. Increased graduate student representation within ASUA could also exacerbate the problem of inadequate graduate student consultation, as ASUA may feel more entitled to speak for graduate students, and campus units may feel that there is less need to consult with the GPSC regarding graduate student needs. All students at the UA would be well-served by separate but collaborative graduate and undergraduate student governments. This system has been implemented at four of 15 UA peers and has also been implemented at ASU. It works well for students at all locations where it has been implemented because it allows graduate and undergraduate representatives to focus on their somewhat different concerns, with the possibility of amicable collaboration on topics of mutual interest. The problem with the present form of student government at the UA derives from the lack of clarity in the roles and jurisdictions of ASUA and GPSC.

    Paul Thorn
    philosophy graduate student GPSC president

    All campaigns deserve to be heard

    I have been campaigning for the candidates of my choice since August because I believe in our system. I believe that candidates should get out their name and their platform and let people decide on the candidate who best fits their belief system and what they want to see from this government. However, dirty political tricks by those working for campaigns have denigrated our sacred process.

    As I was driving north on Oracle Road, I found that the signs supporting Proposition 107 that I had put up at the River Road and Ina Road intersections had been fully hidden from view by signs opposing that measure. Furthermore, a “”Rano Singh for Treasurer”” sign was placed squarely in front of my Dean Martin sign in an attempt to hide it from view. These are shameful and immature acts of fear that I hope people will agree with me in renouncing. I have no problem with people expressing their views, but why try and silence mine? I have been very zealous to place the signs of my candidates all over Tucson, and I have been equally zealous not to place my signs in the view of the other candidates. In addition, I even helped an old woman put up her Jim Pederson sign out on Houghton Road because she was unable to, even though I will be voting against him.

    In addition, last week at a Randy Graf, Gabrielle Giffords and David Nolan debate I had a very cordial exchange with some of Giffords’ supporters. This is more like what should be happening: civil disagreement. I can only assume that the “”No on Prop. 107″” and sign people are afraid, which is understandable, but do not defile our system with petty pranks fit only for classless slobs. I expect to have to teach my 3-year-old nephew about respecting other people’s property, not grown adults.

    John Winchester
    history senior

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