U looks to scrap dorm voice mail

A survey found 60 percent of residents favor eliminating voice mail.

by Jens Krogstad

Residence hall students might not be checking their voice mail next year.

Survey results gauging interest in paying for a newspaper program, cable television and voice mail prompted the University to advise discontinuing voice mail service for University housing.

“At this point, we would recommend eliminating voice mail for students,” University Housing and Residential Life Director Laurie McLaughlin said.

She said community advisers would still have voice mail available.

McLaughlin said eliminating voice mail would save residents approximately $275,000 per year.

Residence Hall Association Vice President Mike May said the cut would offset cost increases that a new University security proposal might incur.

May is a critic of the University’s plan to place two late-night community security monitors in the lobbies of each University residence hall and apartment beginning next school year.

Sixty percent of respondents supported eliminating voice mail and 58 percent favored paying a mandatory $18 monthly fee for cable television.

Several students said they favor dropping voice mail.

First-year student Theo Osemeka said he has no use for voice mail.

“I like the phone, but I’ve never even used my voice mail,” he said.

First-year student Nick Hazzard said he prefers cable to voice mail.

“I don’t have a cell phone now, but I’d rather trade cable for voice mail and buy an answering machine,” he said.

Though there was a favorable response for cable, McLaughlin said further research will be done because not all students would use the service.

“We’ll probably do another survey on cable next year,” McLaughlin said. “For some students who don’t want cable, this would be viewed as an increase.”

Approximately 54 percent of students said they were willing to pay for three newspapers to be delivered under the USA Today Collegiate Readership Program.

But support is not high enough to consider implementing the plan next year, McLaughlin said.

The survey’s response rate was approximately 33 percent, with 2,019 out of 6,188 residents responding.