Wednesday, February 28, 2024

LETTER: Dorm life brings equal internet access

July 1, 2020
A suite style dorm room in Case Hall
A suite style dorm room in Case Hall —
Photo by Jack Falinski | The State News

By: Natasha Chemey

German, linguistics, and advanced mathematics, Michigan State University class of 2019

Opening up the dorms at MSU is seemingly a strange decision to make during a global pandemic.

But it must also be considered that the campus is a great equalizer — everyone on campus has access to reliable internet connectivity. In a time like this when at least half of all classes are going online, not to mention most others being conducted in a hybrid setting, we need better internet access.

If that isn't being provided by our government/infrastructure in an equitable manner, then what choice does the university have but to open the dorms?

If they open it only to people with "justifiable reasons" (e.g. insufficient internet access/homelessness) this would identify students to their peers as being in a lower socioeconomic status, which is unacceptable. It's either open the campus to all, with the major spreading risks that entails, or open it to none, and risk disadvantaging disproportionately more students of color and first generation students.

Look, I don't much like it either that so many students will be in close quarters. I'm not looking forward to returning to campus at my graduate program. What would you suggest to level the playing field?

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