St. John’s prides itself on a lot of things: its Catholic reputation, its academic recognition, its athletic department, and now, its wireless network.
Intel Corporation has ranked St. John’s in the Top 10 amongst the “Most Unwired College Campuses” for two years in a row, this year moving up to #7.
The data collected to decide the rankings derives from surveys based on the percentage of the college that is covered by a wireless network, the undergraduate population, and student to computer ratio.
What the survey did not cover is what leaves St. John’s students scratching their heads.
The University Web site states that “The objective of the Laptop Program is to give students equal access to technology and to provide faculty with a mobile computer option. Starting in the fall of 2003, all incoming full-time freshmen received notebook computers. The program was expanded in the fall of 2004 to include all transfers and readmitted students.”
What the Web site does not explain is personal accounts, as many students, from freshmen to juniors, have had nothing but problems with their free laptops.
Andrew Tealer, a junior criminal justice major responded to St. John’s ranking by saying, “It’s nice to be the seventh most unwired campus, but considering the fact that the laptops don’t work, the only use for those wireless waves is to give us cancer.”
The ill-effects of the wireless network has led to many viruses and connection problems, as students are frequently met with intervals with little to no service.
Likewise, while the campus is largely covered by wireless technology, most of its dormitories are not, as students are often forced to use Ethernet lines or dial-up cable jacks.
When asked about wireless service in the dorms, junior Kevin Phu replied, “We have wireless in the dorms?”
To make matters worse, instead of fixing the computer problems, Information Technology has sparked student resentment, as many feel that their methods of recutting hard drives and their lack of loaner laptops are inconvenient and bothersome.
Junior Joseph Evans said, “I have had my laptop recut like five times. It’s the same exact problem every time, it just said ‘operating system not found.” Evans added, “Then on the fifth time they said it needed a new hard drive and when I told them I had been in four times and never gotten one. They said I should have the first time. They said I should never have recut it to begin with.
Phu added, “Sometimes they (I.T.) treat me like I am computer illiterate…I think you have to go in there with a mindset like, ‘they could quite possibly delete everything.”
With the many dilemmas that the free laptops and wireless network have brought upon their students, it is evident that that Top-Ten ranking is just a tad deceiving.
No matter what surveys or statistics Intel or the University conveys, the students’ voices speak volumes more.