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Concerning internet access on campus

Greg Allen | Op-Ed Submission

Dear Washington University Administrators,

I am sitting in Olin library writing this letter by hand. I recognize, of course, that it would be much more practical for me to compose this message as an e-mail and send it to you directly. Unfortunately, I cannot access my e-mail as my Internet is down. Normally, I would just wait until the situation improves, but Wash. U. Internet is always down. In fact, the Internet situation at Wash. U. is so bad that the fastest available form of correspondence is for me to deliver this message to Student Life in person so that they can carve its letters into lead plates thereafter covered with ink and run through a newspaper press. I wish there was an alternative to this 15th century form of communication, but as I said, I have no Internet.

I wonder what you, the administrative staff, think of the current Internet crisis. Perhaps you have separate landline connections that shield you from the worst effects of the current Internet famine? If so, I beg that you take mercy on us, the poor, Internet-starved students in the library, trying earnestly to make the most of our technologically backward “21st century education.” Honestly, we don’t ask for much. We’d like to be able to catch up on our e-mail. Occasionally, we’d also like to take advantage of all those state-of-the-art Internet features that your countless prospective-student letters bragged about: the online video of our last bio lecture, the homework posted only on Telesis and the Internet research databases. You told us all of these things would be state-of-the-art technologies, applications that more than justified the hundreds of thousands of dollars you asked in return. I assume that that you were not lying when you said these tools would be available to Wash. U. students. Alas, I cannot find out because I have no Internet.

I can recall, back before the great Internet famine of Fall 2009 began, a time when the Wash. U. Internet put at my fingertips unlimited news, media, tools, and scholarship—all at the speed of light. Now, during the rare occasions when my computer somehow manages to locate half a bar of signal, the Internet crawls by lazily, like some sedated turtle crawling backwards up a hill. At times I wonder if Wash. U. is located not in Saint Louis, as the University’s name suggests, but rather in some uncharted desert that even Internet satellites cannot reach. I would love to check the Wash. U. Web site to see if my hypothesis is correct. Regrettably, I cannot do so because I have no Internet.

I know that this e-mail sounds ungrateful, and perhaps even cruel, but I assure you that my sentiments are far milder than the venomous, spiteful curses I hear muttered in the library all around me. Here, the starving Internet refugees damn your name and all things Wash. U. as they pray to the Internet gods that this nightmare will pass, so they can once again bask in the enlightening glow of their laptop screens. Perhaps you are already aware of this insufferable problem and working tirelessly to fix it. Then again, how would we know? We have no Internet.


Greg Allen

Greg is a senior in Arts & Sciences. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]

  • questioning the writer

    internet starved? I can’t begin to explain how foolish you sound. There’s wireless access points all over campus. The library always has good signal. The only buildings on campus that don’t have wireless are in department buildings where the department voted not to have wireless. I’m so tired of WashU students thinking the world is supposed to be handed to them on a silver platter.

  • WU 2010

    Yeah, WashU’s WIFI is particularly bad this year, but the alternative is Charter–undoubtedly the worst cable company on the planet. The service is mediocre at best, every month there is a problem with my bill, and good luck getting a technician to come to your apartment when they say they’re coming. Oh, and it probably doesn’t help that they declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy last spring.

    In shorter, WashU internet sucks, but Charter is worse.

  • Russell

    Haven’t really had issues with wireless internet, excluding a couple of buildings, but it’s definitely nice to see people taking steps (e.g. today’s survey on internet issues) to figure out what the issues are and deal with them.

  • Alex Hoogland

    “Teh Interwebs is NOT a big truck – it’s a series of tubes!” – WUSTL hardware specialist