Debate over Marillac Lab Rule

The always busy computer lab in Marillac Hall welcomed students back for the Fall semester with a very controversial rule change. Students are now being asked to limit their usage of the computer lab to 30 minutes, in an effort to allow more students access to the personal computers that are stationed on the first floor of arguably St. John’s busiest building.

The time limit has been met with much criticism, especially from commuter students. They have viewed the new rule as another slap to the face of the commuter student population that St. John’s once respected and relied on before the adding of numerous residence halls shifted their attention.

Commuters contend that limiting their time in the lab takes away from their opportunity to write papers and do other homework while on campus. With the 30 minute express rule in place, Marillac’s computer lab has been reduced from a place to write a paper to a place to quickly proofread one. In the past, commuters who have had schedules that include significant gaps of time have taken haven in Marillac for hours at a time, now they must head elsewhere to effectively utilize their free time.

Though this may seem like a tragic scenario for a large amount of students, many students are forgetting an extremely important point.

St. John’s University is one of the few, if not the only University in the country that furnishes its entire student body with a new laptop. Not only does the University provide the IBM Thinkpad laptops that have become a staple of the university, it also features a campus that is almost completely wireless. After bringing those two points to the table, isn’t it a little bit harder to find fault with whoever decided that 30 minutes is all we need in Marillac’s computer lab. Technically, our whole campus is a computer lab if we choose to use it as such. Every student who goes to this University has the option of circumventing the 30 minute express rule by using the laptop that they received when they arrived here. Receiving a free laptop is not a bad deal. As a matter of fact, a laptop can be taken over unlimited access to Marillac any day of the week.

In fairness, there is only one complaint about the controversy that addresses our St. John’s issued laptops. The sentiment is that a laptop is just another thing to carry on a long and strenuous commute, and that many commuters leave their laptop at home. The clear answer is this: “Welcome to college, it’s harder than high school!”
If that didn’t convince you, try to think back to the day that you got your laptop; most likely you also received a convenient black bag to carry the laptop along with you. For once in their lives it seems like St. John’s truly thought of everything!

The 30 minute express would be more effective as the 60 minute express. At least it would give students time to complete small assignments. However, the need for students to be practically living in the computer lab while they have a laptop that they could have brought with them sitting on their bed at home.

The real problem that needs to be addressed in the immediate future is the students who use the computers in both Marillac and the library for social purposes (i.e. Facebook, Myspace, etc.) while people waiting behind them with a flash drive sweat bullets as they wonder whether or not they will get to class on time enough to turn in their midterm paper that they just worked all night on.

Though all students here at St. John’s have access to a computer, much less have access to a printer. In the future, the University should make a more assertive effort to address that problem and continue to improve the University by embracing technology on our campus.