Housing cuts the cords in dorm rooms

By Jennifer Graham

Say goodbye to curly cords and desk phones if you live in UK’s dorms.

UK students living in housing on-campus can no longer use a landline provided by UK Housing in their dorms unless they place a request with UK Communications, said Ben Crutcher, associate vice president of auxiliary services.

“The switch was made for this school year because students are relying more on cell phones over landlines,” Crutcher said.

A part of student housing fees was a $25 charge per month per line for each student living in a residence hall, but that charge was removed when UK Housing stopped offering the landline service. Both students and the university are saving money with the decision to do away with landlines, Crutcher said.

Housing pays UK Communications for phone service in each dorm room. The cost for supplying a line in each room is roughly $840,000. After eliminating landlines, UK will invest $150,000 in increasing Internet bandwidth. The rest will be in savings, Crutcher said.

However, not all universities are removing landlines as cell phone usage becomes more popular. Western Kentucky University has no plans to get rid of their landlines for their dorms, said Edwin Craft, director of telecommunications at WKU.

The landlines add safety for students and students still use the service —334,000 phone calls were made in WKU’s dorms during the 2007-08 school year.

“Each campus should evaluate their situation’s cost and benefits to removing their landlines,” Craft said.

“Basically campuses should ensure the best access to technology and safety. Those are concerns that all universities look at.”

UK students have mixed feelings about whether or not landlines should have been removed.

Psychology freshman Stacie Ball said her parents had to buy a cell phone for her instead of the cheaper landline phone she had planned on purchasing.

“I think it just makes things more hectic for students,” Ball said. “Some people have limited minutes so they may just be able to talk to their family after 9 p.m. and during the weekends.”

Fashion merchandising freshman Kelly Rafferty said her older sister never used a landline in college, so she didn’t believe she would use one, either.

“I’m on my cell phone all the time,” Rafferty said. “(The decision to get rid of landlines) probably won’t affect students, plus it will probably save UK money. Those students that do need landlines should probably contact UK.”

As of Thursday, only seven students had subscribed for the landline service offered by UK Communications.