Use economic power

We have a suggestion for students living in NIU residence halls who are interested in watching television—buy your cable adapter at Radio Shack.

Over the summer the housing office decided to absolve the recurring problems of adapter theft and the tedious work involved in checking the devices, which were previously distributed freely, at least until this fall.

The housing office is now charging students for cable adapters and the hookup cables.

If this solution is the best one for the university, we have no problem with it. However, hustings 1993-94 residence hall handbook still says cables and adapters will be issued to students at no charge.

Now students are confused. Some are a little irritated.

We realize the cost is not a ton of money, but these are the kind of things that can start the school year off on the wrong foot. Students should have had a chance to know about this ahead of time and why it’s being done.

Residence hall rates already rose sharply last year. It was probably more than a coincidence that there was also a sharp decline in students entering residence halls the following semester, which added even more to housing’s financial woes.

Students are already paying close to $4,000 a year to live in residence halls. While the cost of a cable hookup isn’t much, we certainly hope this isn’t a trend.

We don’t want to see students, who are already paying a pretty penny, nickel and dimed to death every time housing has an inconvenience.

While housing insists the charge was not installed as a “money maker” for the residence halls, the Residence Hall Association seems to see a few dollar signs passing by. It seems inappropriate for the university to try to milk students in light of the circumstances.

If theft is the problem, why not charge a deposit? Whatever action housing decided on, students should have been clearly informed.

The other problem seems to be making sure the devices work and housing just can’t spare the time and energy. This may well be true, but let students know ahead of time.

One suggestion we’d make, for students, is to purchase cable adapters at Radio Shack for about $3. Use your economic power to voice your displeasure.