Wednesday, April 19

Dearest Vice-Chancellor of RMIT University,

The Misfit

I'm seriously questioning the rationale behind the week long Easter break (13th to 19th) for RMIT students.

Given that Good Friday and Easter Monday are both public (14th and 17th) holidays, it was essentially an extended 4 days weekend. "All fine and dandy there," i say.

So if the university staff have the privelege of a legitimate long weekend, can someone explain to me why the campus, sans library, was completely shut down on Tuesday (18th)?

Heaps of students use the long break to catch up on their work. I'm no different - it has been a welcome break from the early morning shuttling to uni and i'm several weeks behind in homework - so no complaints there.

There's a limit to how much students can do from home. Not all students come from well-to-do families. Not all students have access to the Internet or a proper printer. I personally know of a few students who have no Internet connection at home. Some, God save their soul, are still on dial-up.

I speak for all RMIT students out there, but as a Student Representative, i speak especially for the Communications students of Building 6.

The PCs and Macs in level 4 are some of the best public computer labs we students have access to. The computers are fast, responsive and save for the occasional hiccup, are generally top notch. Even PC-savvy and fussy me look forward to using the computers.

Imagine, to my dismay, that when i've travelled 30 minutes from *insert suburb here* to print out a particular piece of work that needed to be shown to project mates in the afternoon, only to find the campus closed. On a Tuesday (read: Not a public holiday).

How about a Science student who travelled from bloody Belgrave, which is a 90 minutes travel from outer space, to mix chemicals and blow up the science laboratory, to find the campus closed?

Or a business student wishing to access the Business archives that're locked away in the Business classrooms?

Students take time off their busy schedules to accomodate uni workload. Many students work casual hours, either to pay off loans, rents or general expenses. A week off in mid-semester is an opportune moment to work extra hours for more cash. How would you feel if you took an afternoon 5-hours shift off (that's a $80 shift for a 19-year-old), travelled an hour to campus only to find the 'Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200' sign posted on every door?

Yes, the library is open. But when was the last time you took a casual stroll through the library? The new refurbishments are pretty to look at, but is it really practical? And the most important thing - the computers - are you kidding me?

When the entire campus is shut down, students rely on the library for resources. Particularly access to computers. Have you tried using one the Stone Age computers? I personally own a 1.3Ghz, 384RAM, 20GB laptop with access to Wi-Fi in my tiny apartment. It's ancient by today's standards; yet my laptop makes the library computers look like white elephants.

I implore you to seriously look into this matter. It may be a week long mid-semester break, but students do return to campus. Shutting down the computer laboratories in particular is self-defeatist to all of us. The lecturers wonder why students can't or aren't able to produce work given the holiday was a week long; the students wonder why the lecturers aren't clued in on the situation on campus.

Let's all hold hands and work this out. It's a better day tomorrow.

2nd Year Student Representative for Bachelor in Communications (Professional Communications)

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