Hostel busy again

Last year 38 transfer students called Hostelling International at 12 Hemenway St. home. This year 58 male transfer students are residing in the hostel’s close quarters while 120 females are living at Simmons College across the Fenway.

Students living at the hostel are paying $1,720 a quarter for a standard double and $1,955 for a standard single. Within the rooms there are phone jacks which were added on Sept. 20 of this year, according to one resident. Students living at the youth hostel are not connected to the Resnet system as are other students living on Northeastern’s main campus.

“Internet access is through a phone line and modem,” said the Residential Life’s Director of Operations Marina Iannalfo. “Phone jacks are in each room and students can order telephone service through Verizon.”

To use the dial-up service residents must subscribe to a basic phone service from Verizon for $25 a month. Some residents said this is an unacceptable level of technology for the 21st century.

“We are forced to pay for phone service because we need the internet access,” said Nate MacKinnon a transfer political science major. “It’s a catch 22, we are screwed if we do and screwed if we don’t.”

Another resident refused to purchase a phone plan and walks to campus to check his e-mails.

“I schedule my day around checking my e-mail, I use it on a daily basis,” said Philip Straghalis a transfer marketing major. “I have to walk 20 minutes just to check my e-mail. The modem speed here is unacceptable.”

The speed of the modem connection is 33.6 kilobytes per second.

Instead of opting for the Verizion service, one student walks to the campus.

“For my major [electrical engineering] I need it [internet access], it’s required,” said John Vanskyhawk. “I go to the Wrap to use my laptop.”

Residential Life sent a letter to the students residing in the hostel and at Simmons College offering them guaranteed housing for the remainder of their term at Northeastern if they are to stay at their current residence for the entire fall quarter.

“As you know, typically Northeastern students are only guaranteed housing for their first two years. However, we are happy to inform you that all Northeastern students living at the Youth Hostel [and Simmons College] for at least the entire quarter, Fall 2002, will be guaranteed campus housing for the remained of their full-time undergraduate career at Northeastern beginning Fall 2003,” the letter said.

The letter was sent to the students on September 17.

“We realize that some students are disappointed about being at Simmons and the youth hostel because the locations are not directly on Nothereastern’s campus and accommodations are not exactly the same as our on-campus housing,” said Iannalfo.

Students at the hostel appreciated the guarantee.

“We’re glad we got the deal,” said Mackinnon. “Before we had nothing offered to us.”

On top of paying the equivalent for a standard double on campus, students at the hostile are also paying the Resident Student Fee, $18 per quarter which is imposed and collected by the Resident Student Association. The fee is collected to provide programming in each residence hall.

“Technically they are on-campus,” said RSA President Dan Loveman. “They are paying the fee.”

Loveman said he had previously told students otherwise. The residents at the hostel will be sharing a budget and representation with the Kennedy and Smith Residence Halls.

When residence were informed of the situation they were disappointed that they had to share representation.

“That is ridiculous. We are paying for something that all the other halls get,” MacKinnon said. “A, it is not fair and B it is highway robbery. You can’t charge students for something that they don’t get. The fees need to be adjusted immediately.”

Student Government Association President Richard Schwabacher said he is frustrated at the situation that students have been put in.

“Bottom line, just because these students are transfers and may or may not be paying a certain fee does not mean they can brush them off,” Schwabacher said.

Loveman said that he is aware of the student’s concerns.

“I have heard concerns unfortunately,” he said.

Residents at the hostel said they were intentionally ignored.

“We’ve all heard students talk about the ‘shuffle’ and I thought it was a joke, but here it is,” Mackinnon said. “Residential life had different answers all the time, there is no organization in that department at all.”

Schwabacher and SGA said they are working to help the students as best they can.

“They feel that they are getting cheated because they are not receiving amenities. We can’t help everyone, but we would never turn anyone away,” he said. “Student government is already working on the issue. Vice president McQuiggan is already running with it.”

Iannalfo said that until the university can provide on-campus housing the hostel and Simmons are suitable conditions.

“Unfortunately, we cannot yet guarantee on-campus housing to all of our students and because of their later commitment to the university, housing is not guaranteed to these particular students,” she said. “We want all of our students to be successful and we hope that the youth hostel and Simmons can be a suitable accommodation for them until we can move them onto the main campus, either during this first year, or as a guarantee for their second year.”

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