Letter to the Editor: Cable availability may hurt, not help

Regarding the recent Comcast cable article (“Cable comes to campus,” March 15), I am extremely irritated at the university for forcing us to pay an extra and unnecessary $40 every year.

When you break down how much it is actually costing, which is $20 per semester, it will cost less than $8 per month – the cheapest cable package you can purchase. So you must be wondering why I’m complaining about what really is a great deal.

Cable is not a necessity. Some of the fees we are required to pay are understandable. When we, as freshmen with no kitchens, are required to buy meal plans, that is reasonable. When it is mandatory for us to have insurance carriers or use the university’s, that is reasonable. The fee we pay for the Marino Center can be argued for health reasons, even if not everyone uses it, because good health is critical for life. I cannot see, however, how cable television compares in any way to these other fees.

Cable does not help us in our education or in our health. The university’s only goal is improving student life. If anything, it could have the exact opposite effect of helping us succeed in those areas, though. And I don’t mean to say bringing cable to campus will turn all students into couch potatoes and they will fail all their classes, because most students probably have cable as it is. I just mean cable doesn’t come with vital benefits.

And can you really claim that cable is enriching your life? Sure, you can say the Discovery channel or the History channel is educational. Those aren’t the channels the university really brought “free” cable onto for, are they? In fact, students are excited for – and the article mentions these – shows like “Sex and the City” and “The Sopranos.”

The whole thing seems somewhat selfish. All the kids who don’t pay for cable now, including all the ones crammed into triple economies that can’t even fit a television into their rooms, let alone have cable, will just now be made to pay for everyone else’s entertainment when it will not necessarily make them happy. Many students don’t need cable. Some students don’t even need televisions. Personally, I have other things to do in my spare time. I belong to student groups, I have chores and errands, and I would rather just hang out with my friends. Don’t get me wrong – I love television, but I feel like it will always be there, whereas other things will not, and there’s always time over vacation to catch up. Furthermore, nearly all programs you like, dislike, love and loathe are available on DVD now, anyway.

Also, the majority of students must take out loans to go to this expensive school, and many students transfer because of the price. It’s very demanding to add on an unavoidable charge.

It should be an option to utilize this cable or not – a fee we can go online to waive before the bill is due before the fall semester starts every year.

I hardly think the school stands to lose any money (because, honestly, how many would truly turn down this great offer? I don’t even think I would).

It’s just the principle.

– Lily Ko is a middler marketing major and a member of The News staff.

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