Students disagree with the Regents

Amy Poppinga

Amy Poppinga

Members of the Students’ Association (SA) are collecting signatures to petition against the Board of Regents’ (BOR) current Mobile Computing Initiative. Senators started gathering signatures on Dec. 9 and will continue until Dec. 12 at 5 p.m.

The petition states that students at SDSU do not support the mobile computing plan, including the $7 per credit hour fee increase. Instead, these students want the BOR to adopt a plan based off SA’s proposed changes.

The SA proposal removes the mandatory aspect of the initiative and creates a Mobile Computing Oversight Committee, which would be mostly made up of students. Programs wanting to require laptops would present their plan to the committee, who would then decide if the programs are prepared for a laptop initiative and if their fee increase plan is feasible. The group would also conduct a yearly review of each mobile computing system and decide if the individual laptop systems should continue.

“We wanted our plan to create a compromise somewhere in between that would allow those majors who wanted to go to a mobile computing environment a way to collect fees ? and to standardize that process with an actual oversight committee,” said Eric Hanson, SA vice president.

The BOR initiative would require all students at South Dakota’s public universities to rent or buy a mobile computer and would help universities move to campus-wide wireless Internet service. The plan would be implemented in four phases over four years, with each university in South Dakota deciding at which point each program would begin the initiative. Students would pay the $7 per credit hour fee once their university program was part of the mobile initiative but not before.

Despite concerns about the board’s proposal, Robert T. Tad Perry, executive director of the BOR, was quoted in the Oct. 11 issue of The Collegian saying that the benefits of the project should outweigh the costs.

“If we don’t do it ? what happens? No technology environments? I don’t think that’s in the best interests ? of the students, faculty, universities and even the employers of this state,” he said.

SA representatives will present the petition to the BOR at their Dec. 18 and 19 meeting at Dakota State University in Madison. Signatures will be collected in dining facilities, the Main Street of The Union and the lobbies of the residence halls. At SDSU, SA senators hope to collect 2,000 signatures. Petitions are also being circulated at the University of South Dakota and Northern State University.

SA has used the petition effectively in the past. When the Wellness Center was proposed, students were not pleased with how small the proposed center was. Students petitioned the BOR for a fee increase to expand the project, and the board agreed, said Chris Daugaard, SA president.

“There is pass precedence for using it to get projects to move forward,” said Hanson. “This time we’re trying to use it to shift the way the project will go.”