Student Success Initiative fee advisory committee addresses Wi-Fi issues

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The Student Success Initiative Fee Advisory Committee addressed issues with the overhaul of campus Wi-Fi Wednesday. (Adriana Najera / Daily Titan)
The Student Success Initiative Fee Advisory Committee addressed issues with the overhaul of campus Wi-Fi Wednesday. (Adriana Najera / Daily Titan)

The Student Success Initiative Fee Advisory Committee meeting Wednesday focused largely on the progression of the overhaul of campus Wi-Fi and other Information Technology programs.

The committee, comprised of students and faculty, is responsible for overseeing the use of funds brought in by the Student Success Initiative passed last year.

The committee is co-chaired by Vice President for Student Affairs, Berenecea Eanes, Ph.D., and Associated Students, Inc. President Harpreet Bath.

Implementation of the fee, which was passed  by the Student Fee Advisory Committee in the Spring 2014 semester, began last semester with a $60 increase in student fees.

The fee approval came following a weeks-long consultation process that garnered responses from roughly 10 percent of the student population.

The fee will continue to increase until it reaches its final amount of $181 in fall 2016.

Funds from fees were slated to improve programs including athletics, counseling and IT support.

Bath tackled the issue of campus Wi-Fi and said that it stands as one of the most important issues associated with the fee.

“I think it just happens to be one of the most visible aspects of the (Student Success Initiative) fee,” Bath said. “What tends to happen is the students have issues connecting to our Wi-Fi … and then they blame it on poor service. And then they blame it on student fees not being utilized to better our Wi-Fi.”

Bath has not been able to connect to the campus internet since IT switched to the new Wi-Fi system, he said. He expressed concern that too many other students are facing the same problem.

Rommel Hidalgo, associate vice president for Information Technology, addressed the recent Wi-Fi crash.

The promise of the Student Success Fee to improve Wi-Fi service on campus put added pressure on his team and, when all combined, resulted in the disconnects, he said.

One of the bigger issues was people who still had profiles for the old Wi-Fi system attempting to connect to the new Wi-Fi system, Hidalgo said.

“It didn’t go out as seamless as we planned, but we’re just going to work on that.”
He added that, as more people use the new Wi-Fi, it will become easier for Information Technology to find and solve the issues.

Since January, the 24/7 IT help desk has provided an average of 72 hours a week of phone support and 77 hours a week of walk-in support, Hidalgo said.

Much of the support was for educational software such as Mathlab and other programs used by divisions across the campus. The IT help desk is planned to be 24/7 throughout the summer.

Hidalgo also said that they had approximately 3,000 students sign up for the free Dropbox accounts offered by the school.

Depending on the demand by students towards the end of the semester, IT may renew the license for a lower amount.

“I think that’s the most cost effective way to do that,” Hidalgo said.
The IT department received approximately one-third of the projected funding from the Student Success Fee.

Until the fee is fully implemented, IT plans to borrow funds from other areas in its department and will repay them when the student success fees reach the fall 2016 amount, Hidalgo said.

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