TUNED OUT HBO2, MTV2 disappear from campus cable lineup

“What? Where did they go?” That was the initial reaction of Shara Volk, sophomore, and other students living on campus when they discovered their televisions stopped receiving MTV2 and HBO2 this semester.

“I thought that something was wrong with my remote or TV until I talked to my friends and found out that everyone else lost the channels, too,” said Volk.

Confusion ensues as to why HBO2 has been taken off the lineup, while MTV2 is only sporadically available.

“Maybe they want us to study more and improve our GPAs,” Vanessa Cutler, sophomore, said.

Last year, Student Government [SG] petitioned the University to obtain funding to give students on campus HBO and MTV2. The SG budget was not large enough to support the cost without University funding. For this reason, SG requested only HBO and MTV2 and not HBO2.

Administration approved the expense and began giving students HBO and MTV2 in the middle of last spring semester. Although unlisted on a magnet listing UM channels that was distributed to students, students also began receiving HBO2.

“HBO2 was a bonus; I can understand why they took that away. But MTV2, we passed that – that’s not right,” said Mike Johnston, last year’s SG president who worked to get the channels for students.

It appears, however, that even administration has been left in the dark regarding this issue.

“I am not aware of the situation,” Bob DuBord, associate director of Residence Halls, said. “I think that the students are receiving all of the channels that they are supposed to.”

UM Business Services, who negotiated the contract with Comcast Cable, is also unaware of the situation. According to the Business Services staff, The Hurricane’s phone call inquiring about the situation was the first they had heard of it.

“We don’t know ourselves – we have to find out what happened,” Maita Beguiristain, senior buyer in the purchasing department, said. “The contract was done last year. It shouldn’t have been taken away in the middle of the semester as far as I know.”

Business Services said they will be calling Comcast Cable to investigate the issue.

While students wait for the University to give some answers, they speculate on the issue.

“Maybe they want more of our $30,000 in tuition and housing to pay for new palm trees instead of cable,” said Brandon Kitay, sophomore, who no longer can watch The Sopranos on HBO2.

“Maybe it’s because MTV2 doesn’t have any good music videos anymore,” Sheila Nadiminti, sophomore, said.

Not all students are concerned with the issue.

“I didn’t even know that we got the channels in the first place, so I don’t really care that they took them away,” May Lauron, junior, said.

“Whatever – my friend at Georgetown only gets basic programming, and they have to pay themselves if they want the optional channels,” Mikey Shelling, sophomore, said. “At least the University hasn’t pulled our HBO yet.”

The Hurricane will follow up on any developments with this issue.

Vivek Kalra can be contacted at v.kalra@umiami.edu.