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R.I.P. Penn State Dormitory Landlines

landlines_eliminatedLast Spring, Penn State Director of Housing Conal Carr announced the decision to disconnect Penn State dormitory landlines beginning fall 2009. Although Penn State paid approximately $800,000 annually to maintain the landlines, Penn State Live reported that approximately 72% of students used their landlines less than 20 times in the 2007-2008 school year. Mr. Carr did maintain that Housing will make a “courtesy phone” available on the floor of every dorm in case of an emergency. The changes beg a few questions:

1. Since when did the dorms have landlines? If you have ever used a landline while living in dorms at PSU, please let us know. Bonus points if you dialed an old-school rotary phone.

2. Who will pull the first prank? Mr. Carr announced that the telephone numbers of the dorm courtesy phones will not appear in Caller ID in order to prevent pranking. He also announced that Housing will not make the numbers public; we give it one semester–tops–before someone finds and uses the master list.

3. Why are they called courtesy phones? It’s absolutely not courteous to camp out by a phone in the middle of the hallway where everyone can hear the details of your life. Even if you dropped your cell phone in the toilet, it’s best to save the story about last weekend’s party until you get a new one.

4. How will Penn State use the leftover money? Iowa State University disconnected its landlines this year, using the estimated $140,000 in annual savings toward a $4 million dollar wireless dorm project. According to The Des Moines Register, ISU also set up “a new online service that lets [students] check how much time is left in their washer and dryer cycles without setting foot in the laundry room.” I hope that Penn State won’t let its students get that lazy. We’d much prefer wireless internet, thank you.

[Photo courtesy of The Collegian]

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Lisa is a sophomore majoring in History and Philosophy. She likes peach tea and new information.


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