Computer courtesy

Kelly Metz and Kelly Metz

Students wait in long lines at computer labs while others are busy updating profiles or new applications on Facebook or Myspace. People are complaining, but nobody is talking.

Senior Sean Mika believes there is a serious problem with people not using the computers for academic needs.

‘It is incredibly annoying to walk to a crowded computer lab, with no visible computers available, only to find several students updating the top friends feature on Facebook,’ Mika said.

Many students do not know the simple way to remedy the problems of computer misuse in labs is to tell the lab consultant present.

Information Technology Services policies state, playing games are not permitted while using any ITS computer system or modem. Games in this context may be defined as any computer software whose use is primarily for entertainment.

Not only are playing games considered entertainment use, but if students are seen on social networking Web sites such as Facebook and Myspace, the lab consultant has the power and authority to remove the student from the lab should someone complain.

Keeping these thoughts in mind, lab consultants such as Shane Lewis and Brittany Lopez hope students know they can come to them if they have a problem with misuse of computers.

‘These labs are reserved for academic work only,’ Lewis said. ‘If we see a student playing games or if there is a line and someone is misusing the computers, we will ask them to leave.’

Brittany Lopez, a lab consultant that works in the Union as well as in Hayes 025, believes that students should feel comfortable enough to ask a consultant to have someone removed from the lab.

‘If they can come up to us to tell us the printer is broken, they should feel comfortable enough to come talk to us and tell us when someone is not using the computer the right way,’ Lopez said.

Even though these policies have been in place since 1998, students such as Keri Shryock, senior, feel as though this particular policy has not been effectively communicated.

‘No one knows the policy and no one uses it,’ Shryock said.

Shryock believes there should be signs posted telling students that academic work comes before leisure Web sites, and also to be respectful of people needing to use to computers for academically affiliated work.

Lewis believes students feel the topic of someone on Facebook in the computer is not important, and the lab consultants do not have the authority to help the situation.

‘We hope that if we seem friendly enough they will come talk to us,’ Lewis said. ‘Usually, I hear people whispering the fact they are mad, and then I go and find out if everything is okay.’

Other problems seen in public computer labs are the use of priority station computers, or computers that have scanners attached.

Lab consultants will move students who are not using the scanners on the priority station computers, an action Lopez believes should show students that consultants are there to help.

Consultants in computer labs emphasize using less crowded labs for leisure time.

‘Hayes is never full,’ Lopez said. ‘If there is a line and if someone wants to Facebook or Myspace, they can go there or another less crowded computer lab.’

Overall, lab consultants and other students who are frustrated with misuse of computers stress the concept of common courtesy.

‘People could be more respectful,’ Mika said. ‘If you are playing on Facebook and see someone needs the computer, get out of the way.’