The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday January 26th

Dorm Internet Access Low at HBCUs

Students at historically black colleges and universities do not have access to the Internet in their residence halls, despite the presence of network systems on campus, according to a recently released study.

The study, titled "Historically Black Colleges and Universities: An Assessment of Networking and Connectivity," was released by U.S. Commerce Secretary Norman Mineta.

The study surveyed the computing resources and network capabilities of 80 of the 118 HBCUs in the nation.

According to a Department of Commerce press release, Mineta said the report demonstrated that the nation's historically black educational institutions stand poised to make a digital leap into the 21st century.

Three of the five HBCUs in the UNC system - N.C. Agricultural & Technical State, Elizabeth City State and Winston-Salem State universities - participated in the survey. "The point of the study was to look at the readiness of historically black colleges and universities to provide Internet services to students," said Art Brodsky, National Telecommunications and Information Administration communications director.

Brodsky said the NTIA administered a grant to the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education to conduct the survey. Approximately 25 percent of students attending HBCUs bring their own computers to campus, the survey said. At non-HBCUs, that number of students jumps to 50 percent.

The survey also said while 98 percent of HBCUs have some form of campus network, only 50 percent of the schools provide dormitory access to the Internet.

Joyce Williams-Green, WSSU associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the university is actively working to provide Internet access in all campus buildings. "We are in the final stages of the project," she said.

Williams-Green said all campus dormitories will be operating on a network by December. But she said students can currently access e-mail and the Internet via 15 campus computer laboratories.

"Students have access now in laboratories and via modems," she said.

Fayetteville State spokeswoman Lauren Burgess said the university is also working to make the campus Internet accessible to all students.

Burgess said all classrooms and administrative offices are connected to the Internet and the university is currently working to connect residence halls to the network. "We have one residence hall completely wired and are now wiring the rest of the residence halls."

The State & National Editor can be reached at stntdesk@unc.edu.


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