In an effort to make use of resources more effectively, Knox College has recently announced the discontinuation of landline phones in dorm rooms. The college estimates that it will save approximately $34,000 as a result of the initiative.
According to Director of Technology Services Steve Hall, analysis and trends of usage showed that the service is not being used by most of the campus. In fact, only three students have landlines and 16 have set up their voicemail.
Among those three students is junior Jenny Linder who has been using the school phone for all three years and now she will have to find an alternative means of communication.
“It will highly affect me, unfortunately,” Linder said. “I have a long-distance relationship, and I don’t have a cell phone, so I’m going to have to turn my computer on and Skype. [It] is going to be kind of a hassle turning on the computer every time you want to call someone.”
To address this concern, Steve Hall indicated that there will be other alternatives.
“We aren’t removing phones from suites. If they [students] want a long-distance PIN, they are still available,” Hall said. “You could plug an RF plug into the suite room and take the phone into [your] room. Another thing to keep in mind, [is that] the Dean of Students does have the ability to hear out students and serve their requests, primarily for medical and other [requests] that might be necessary.”
Another student who uses a school landline is freshman Krystal Pitts. Although she does not rely on the phone nearly as much as Linder, she is concerned as to what will happen if her cell phone is cut off.
“I never use the [suite phone],” Pitts said. “I guess I can see now that with the suite phone, you still have some kind of Knox phone service. What kind of sucks, with the suite, [is that] if you want to have a private conversation, [it] is going to be hard to do with the phone in the suite.”
Pitts also suggests that the school could possibly allow students to request phone service so those who actually need it will have access to it. This also raises another question that some faculty and staff have worried about: how to contact students.
According to Hall, last time students were asked about possibly allowing for their cell phone numbers to become available to other people, they were highly against this; however, this may have changed by now.
“The cell phone data for emergency contact is kind of sensitive, and we have kept those numbers private. That’s why we haven’t made those numbers available,” Hall said. “It would be something we would have to go to Student Senate and the student body before we move forward.”