Student government [SG] is finally getting the requests they have fought to materialize for years: more cable channels on campus and Caller ID in the dorms. Also, stricter rules have been implemented to deter fire alarm disturbances during exams and in the middle of the night.
Mike Johnston, SG president, is excited about the additional cable channels.
“This was one of the issues on my platform last year,” Johnston said. “I’ve always believed that these types of amenities are just what the students want in an on-campus community that is always growing.”
“We will be able to pick up all the stations that all past student governments have wanted and be able to provide them to students,” said Robert Redick, director of resident halls.
The new cable channels will include HBO, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, The History Channel, MTV2 and ESPN.
“It’s about damn time,” laughed senior Laurel Smith, a resident at Hecht. “It’s about time people pay attention to the inside, where students must live and study, instead of beautifying the outside.”
“There’s a slight chance the expanded cable, except for HBO, might be in before the semester is over,” Redick said.
Comcast, the UM cable provider, has 60 days after signing the contract to provide all services, meaning that all channels will be available by Sept. 1.
According to Redick, the Caller ID service will be provided by TeleComm.
“Telecomm has found a way to provide, at a reasonable rate to resident students, lines with Caller ID,” Redick added.
Students will either need a phone with Caller ID capability or will have to purchase the small Caller ID device separately.
Redick says the costs of the two new amenities will be covered by an increase in dorm room rent for next year: a threeand-a-half percent increase for double rooms and a four percent increase for single rooms.
The rent increase, however, will also be used to cover the increased prices for operating costs such as property ownership, insurance, utility and electricity.
Currently, SG is also working with UM faculty to find new ways of decreasing the number of false fire alarms in the residence halls, especially at night and during exams.
“About 50 percent [of the alarms pulled this year] were because of human involvement,” Redick said. “But that does not always mean malicious involvement.”
According to Redick, the other 50 per-cent of the cases were due to different types of mechanical errors, which have been addressed.
UM offers a $1,000 award for information leading to the identification of a person involved in the pulling of a fire alarm. SG has also talked of putting plastic covers over the alarms so they cannot be accidentally pulled, or spraying ink that will identify the person who has intentionally pulled an alarm.
As of press time, neither idea had been finalized.
According to the Students Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, if an individual is caught pulling an alarm, their housing contract is immediately terminated and they are forced to move out within 72 hours.
UM then takes disciplinary action against the individual[s] responsible and works with Coral Gables Police and Fire Departments to decide whether further legal action should be taken.
Johnston says that UM administration has been supportive of the changes and they have worked hard to see them materialize.
“It’s been a privilege working with the administration,” Johnston said. “They’ve been an unbelievable asset in the actualization of these plans.”
For more information regarding the new changes, contact The Department of Residence Halls at 305-284-4505.
Kathleen Fordyce can be contacted at K4Dice@aol.com.