Not everyone is welcome to surf in the fishbowl Ð at least that what's the signs recently posted on the glass windows of classrooms 135 and 136 of the Classroom Building would have students believe. |
According to the signs, only Computer Science students are permitted to use these computer labs. Others are directed to use room 440.1 of the Education Building instead.
While computer science students are happy to have the computers to themselves, other students feel inconvenienced.
"I think they're really inconveniencing students who have most classes on that end of campus," says Lisa Ritchie, a third- year biology major. "I have one class in the education building. I don't think I've ever seen the fourth floor."
Although the general-use lab in the education building is equipped with twenty-five Pentiums, the faculties of Administration, Social Work and PAS
| also use the facility for their own labs. Concerns about wheelchair accessibility, isolation from the rest of campus, and a lack of security have been also been raised.|
"We recognize there is a need for more general computing," says Bill Maes, director of library and information services, "but the cost to maintain a computer lab is $200,000 every three years. There are no plans to expand the existing facilities at the moment."
He added that the students' union's orientation tours told students the labs were open, and that non-CS students were "going in there and demanding access".
The U of R Students' Union (URSU) operates seven computers on the second floor of the University Centre. Students are welcome to use these machines, if they don't mind being charged by the hour. URSU was not available for comment on the recent setup.
Dave Calam, a fourth-year Computer Science major, says that the Fishbowl labs are often completely packed. |
"It's a bit of a hassle for CS students when they can't do their work."
The department head for Computer Science, Dr. Larry Saxton agrees.
"The regulations have never changed. We always had these signs up on the wall, but nobody ever read them," he says.
However, he doesn't see a problem with students using the Fishbowl facilities "as long as they are being reasonable and will relinquish a computer if a CS student asks to use it."