By Rickey Miller
When the new fall semester began at Louisiana State University, many students were alarmed to notice that the Middleton Library’s computer lab had disappeared. This decision quietly came into effect after the Student Technology Fee Committee conducted a survey that indicated a majority of students on campus use their own personal laptops and don’t need the lab.
However, many students are now stating that they do not remember completing a survey relating to computer usage, and that the lab’s removal – a loss of 156 public access computers – is a cause for concern.
“The reasoning behind the computer lab removal is completely illogical to me,” said Breelyn Jackson, a 23-year-old sociology major. “Most days nearly all the computers on the second floor were constantly in use.” She added that during peak times in the library – such as midterm week and finals week – finding an available desktop is now almost impossible.
Other students expressed concerns of convenience. Many stated that although they do have laptops, the computers in the library are more convenient when it comes to certain tasks like printing, scanning, or doing simple web searches.
“A lot times I cannot connect to the wireless Internet or printer on my laptop,” said 22 year-old English major Erin Woods. “It’s easier for me to use the computers in the library. Problem is, finding an available computer now seems like [it would take] an act of Congress.”
While most students seem to not understand the decision to remove the computer lab, there are some students who support the committee’s decision. They agree that there is no purpose for an entire computer lab if most students have laptops or can easily check out a laptop from the library.
“It saves energy and money we can use for other things,” said Jessica St. Julien, a 21-year-old engineering major, “like newer, improved technology.”
Clayton Tufts, LSU Student Body President explained that the removal of the computer lab was student-driven before it was committee-passed.
“Proposals are not initiated by the committee,” he said, adding that the committee only votes on those proposals that are brought to them from the student body. “The students wanted more space to study on the second floor instead of the computer lab.”
Tufts also noted the removal of the computer lab has opened doors for other projects that students are pushing for.
“Since we have removed the computer lab, more resources can be used to dedicate to the new wireless expansion project, which is currently underway,” he said. That new wireless expansion project will provide a stronger and better quality Wi-Fi connection for students to use on campus. So far, wireless upgrades for Coates Hall and The Union have been completed, with projects underway at Middleton, Lockett, and Campbell Auditorium.