November 27, 2020

Students question lack of WVA Wi-Fi

Webster University sophomore Meghan Steineker is enrolled in classes which require her to access the Blackboard website for notes and homework.  Steineker may also take an online course this semester.  But because Steineker is a resident living in the Webster Village Apartments (WVA), she does not have access to Webster’s campus Wi-Fi in her room.

Sophomore Costume Design major Abby Dorning Skypes with Sophomore Film Production student Jenna McDonald. McDonald is abroad in Vienna, but the best friends are able to keep their connection strong with online communication. PHOTO BY HAYDEN ANDREWS

Residents of the WVA either have to purchase an additional device for Internet access in their apartments or log on at another campus location to use the Webster Wi-Fi network.

“The apartments have everything else,” Steineker said. “They’re fully furnished, so why not have Wi-Fi? I think it’s ridiculous. We’re paying for the apartments. They may as well have Wi-Fi in them. I mean we have a dishwasher.”

Webster University offers Wi-Fi service to all residents in East, West and Maria Halls. Housing and Residential Life Director John Buck said Webster’s Wi-Fi is not directly connected to the room and board rates of campus residents.

“The Wi-Fi is an expense that is absorbed by IT (Information Technology), and is an amenity that is not directly connected to room and board rates,” Buck said.

Locations such as the WVA Clubhouse and Emerson Library are within walking distance of the apartments and have Internet access. But some students in the WVA have purchased routers or Ethernet cables to avoid leaving their apartments. Students who live in West, East and Maria halls are prohibited from setting up their own routers.

“I bought a wireless router, which was $50 out of my own pocket, just so I could have Wi-Fi that was fast enough for me to finish my homework,” Steineker said. “If you want to work in the living room you have to buy a long Ethernet chord, which are harder to find.”

WVA and Maria Hall Community Director Chris Rice said  IT would like to extend Wi-Fi access campus wide. Rice recommended The Journal contact IT for further information.

The Journal contacted Webster University Chief Information Officer and Vice President Kenneth Freeman for an interview.  The Journal scheduled an interview at the closest available time, two weeks in advance.  Forty-eight hours before the interview, Freeman said the interview would need to be rescheduled for the next week. Freeman  did not comment in time for publication.

“It’s definitely frustrating because Internet access is necessary for college,” sophomore WVA resident Abby Dorning said. “I’d rather not buy a router then use Webster’s Wi-Fi because it’s free.”

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