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Does Cornell Discriminate Against Those Not Wanting A Nightlife?

A rising sophomore is petitioning the University against its use of an "Internet tax" whereby it charges students for excessive bandwidth usage:

News: Heavy Streams - Inside Higher Ed

Lara, the Cornell petitioner, has framed the network-usage fees as a tax on students who prefer consuming Web videos to consuming alcohol. "While some students opt to partake in drug-related pastimes, other students stay in and watch movies, talk on Skype or iChat, or even just surf the Web," wrote Lara in a Web petition addressed to university officials. "We should not be penalized for this", she wrote, particularly given how much students already pay in tuition and fees.

Lara says that last year, her first at Cornell, she racked up hundreds of dollars in excess network-usage charges including $150 for one month. She told Inside Higher Ed that she does not download files from torrent sites; she just likes to watch videos on Netflix and Hulu, and does so a lot. Lara says she also spends several hours every week talking to family and friends on Skype.

"If Cornell was situated in a major metropolitan area with a vast nightlife that could accomodate[sic] the interests of most, if not all, our undergraduates, then many Cornellians wouldn't be so inclined to stay in their rooms and get on the Internet," she wrote in a note with the petition on Change.org. "But that's not the case. Cornell's Greek life dominates the social scene, making "nightlife a dividing factor in the community."

With the like of Hulu, NetFlix, and Skype exploding in popularity, I certainly don't see why the University shouldn't raise the Internet bandwith limits it imposes on students to a more reasonable limit. But claiming that there isn't anything to do in Ithaca that isn't drug-related other than watching NetFlix is absurd. Ithaca has more varied social offerings than all but the largest metropolitan areas in the country. There's 30,000 students between East Hill and South Hill: Go out and make some friends. Play board games. Go camping. Start a band. Stage a play. Go out and see some live music. Attend an art museum opening.

She also apparently needs to learn how to spell accommodate. Maybe she should be studying more instead of watching movies on NetFlix?

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on August 16, 2011 (#)

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