New internet policy at Gaming campus stirs mixed feelings

Staff Writer

Due to a new Internet policy, Franciscan University of Steubenville students in Gaming, Austria, now have less access to the Web more nights this semester than in previous semesters.

The WiFi is turned off Sunday through Thursday from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m the following morning to foster a better Austrian experience, according to the Austria Program Handbook distributed to every student.

During the day students, can access the Internet via WiFi at various router locations throughout the Kartause.  These include the main lobby, the computer lab and many of the classroom areas.

However, the new policy at the Kartause has caused some controversy among the students.

“We’ve gone round and round about this,” said David Pipp, Director of Student Life on the Austrian campus.

The main concern of the administration is how to best aid academia, said Pipp.  One tactic they took was freeing up a period on class days in order to cut down on class time and allow for more study.

Because of the new policy, all online research must be completed and online materials must be accessed before 10 p.m.

That has not been much of a problem, according to one student.

“It hasn’t affected my studying because most of my homework has been reading textbooks,” said Joseph Guercio, a sophomore sociology student.

This new policy also makes communication more difficult for students who have family several time zones away.  Lunchtime in Ohio is dinnertime in Austria.  In California, it’s only midmorning.

“(The internet policy) has really limited the time I have to talk to friends,” said Cecilia Caro, a transfer student majoring in Computer Information Science.  Caro’s best friend lives in California and they have not had much contact since the semester started.

Parents of students in Austria are concerned about staying in touch with their children as well.  Pipp received feedback from angry parents at the beginning of the semester.

Furthermore, access to certain sites are restricted or merely limited by bandwidth during peak hours such as late afternoon into the evening.  YouTube and video calls are in this category.

In past years, the WiFi was shut off for one night during the week.  Last semester, the Internet was shut off on Mondays from 7 p.m. to Tuesday at 6 a.m. according to last semester’s handbook.

Tanya Maria Chichester, a junior International Business major, voiced her opinion.

“(The new policy) is just inconvenient,” Chichester said.  “Then again, it’s good. … It makes people manage their time wisely.”

“I have not talked to my family as much as last semester,” Chichester added, explaining that it was difficult to find a time and place to make a Skype call.

WiFi is always available in the Kartause restaurant, but a username and passcode have to be requested at the register.

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