Campus / News / Student Senate / November 12, 2008

Action taken on prairie plots and wireless internet

In the second to last session of the term, Student Senate met last Thursday in the Round Room of CFA. The main item of action for the night was the Wireless Resolution, finally coming to a vote before the chamber after weeks of discussion. The resolution, as amended, gives many explanations to the reasons for itself:

WHEREAS the prior Senate resolution (which leaves one port per room) is a piecemeal solution that leaves us stranded between the dim confines of antiquity and the bright openness of progress, and

WHEREAS we are liberated from the five-year lease on Knox’s network equipment at the end of 2009, and

WHEREAS renewed hardware for the current wired system would cost $310,000, and

WHEREAS the annual power required to run those switches at their current capacity could power a modest mansion for nine years, and

WHEREAS an overwhelming 78 percent of students use the current wireless system exclusively, and

WHEREAS 95 percent of reported problems with the current wireless system are in fact problems with the configuration of individual personal computers, and

WHEREAS the current wireless system, built five years ago as a convenience application (a backup for the wired network) in no way reflects the capabilities or qualities of a new dedicated wireless system built as an enterprise application (the primary way to connect to the internet on campus), and

WHEREAS a professional wireless survey to determine potential RF [radio frequency] discrepancies and dead zones will be administered by a specialist before installing new access points, and

WHEREAS new 802.11n wireless access points would expand the range of the wireless network by approximately four times, and

WHEREAS moving to a controller-based rather than intelligent endpoint system would make the wireless network much more flexible and therefore reliable, and

WHEREAS all school-owned machines currently on the wired network will remain there, and

WHEREAS the majority of consumer-oriented computers come equipped with wireless devices by default, and

WHEREAS the Computer Center should fully subsidize USB wireless devices for students who lack a wireless device;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Student Senate (on behalf of the student body) approves the Computer Center’s plans to move the campus to an all-wireless system in the summer of 2009

Senators discussed the issue rather briefly, focusing mainly on wireless USB device subsidies, finally moving to have the issue amended to full subsidization.

The next major item on the agenda was the Report from the Observers to the Board of Trustees, which met during Homecoming. Given by senior senators John Curtin and Salleha Chaudhry, the report outlined the general state of the college, including a rather disturbing figure in terms of Knox’s endowment. According to the Investment Subcommittee, Knox’s total endowment balance has fallen to $55,402,612, down from $71,423,256 before the recent economic crisis. There was an overall feeling of confidence in the school’s ability to recover.

Finally, the chamber saw the creation of an Ad Hoc Committee for Prairie Plots, which will be chaired by sophomore Tim Lovett. The committee will consist of six senators: sophomore Abe Zumwalt, junior Trevor Sorenson, junior Fayne Lawson, Lovett, freshman Gordon Barratt, and junior and Sustainability Committee chair Abby Pardick.

After fund approvals this week, the Student Senate Discretionary Fund had $25,000.43 remaining for the year.

Student Senate sessions are held every Thursday at 7 p.m., and are currently held in the Round Room of CFA, though that location is subject to change.

Andrew Polk

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