By Cristina Paolozzi, February 13 2020—
If there’s one thing university students are good at, it’s complaining. From trekking to early morning classes and having to get out of the comfort of your warm bed, to having just completed the worst mid-term of all time, there is certainly no shortage of student woes. However, the one thing that every University of Calgary student needs — honestly, the one thing everyone needs nowadays — is a speedy and reliable internet access. The university has been known to have its fair share of outages, and frankly, that’s not okay. If students are to be productive and find adequate work spaces at school, internet access should not be painful to obtain.
In an article from 2018, the Gauntlet reported that students were concerned about the coursework and other internet-related activities they would be forced to miss or postpone as a result of these WiFi outages. These connection issues are still recurring, and every so often, students are reminded — in the worst way possible — of how important it is to have a functioning and robust system available and accessible to all students 24-7. Even though the article was from two years ago, Reddit threads and multiple tweets as recently as a couple of months ago suggest that the problem isn’t really going away, so much as it’s being hurriedly addressed whenever something goes horribly wrong, which then results in delays that only come back to hurt students. The last outage, according to the University of Calgary IT’s Twitter, was from about a month ago. If students are to be subjected with random outages that need to be quelled at the drop of a hat, it should be the responsibility of the university to ensure that the IT department is well-staffed, and that the resources and equipment is up to date so that efficient and effective work can continue to be accomplished by attendees of this institution.
U of C is a place full of exciting research and collaboration. The best way to tarnish the way students complete their work is to cut the one resource that everyone relies on. Having an open dialogue between students in the form of updates on U of C IT’s Twitter is an effective way to ensure that individuals know about outages or system changes, however when the internet is down, there won’t be many students able to check Twitter making this the most frustrating Catch-22 of all time. Ensuring that an institution built upon expanding knowledge and gaining new insights thrives and flourishes, a sturdy and reliable internet connection is not a luxury we should all be so lucky to have. A decent WiFi connection is the absolute least we should be able to rely on.
Amid sketchy tuition increases, apathetic university administration and student representatives who believe the best form of student representation is informally consulting the prospects of other fee increases with students who apparently feel indifferent, there isn’t a whole lot to feel secure about in the coming years as a student at U of C. However, if there’s one thing we can collectively agree on, it’s that internet access should not be a struggle and that getting WiFi to complete assignments or other course-related activities should not be a reality for the student in the 21st century.
This article is part of our Opinions section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet’s editorial board.