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Students say their complaints about cellphone reception still aren’t being addressed

Lore Khazem and Lulu Ramadan

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It was Tuesday, Oct. 9 when Ian Dunne was sitting in the lobby at Innovation Village Apartments (IVA) South on his cellphone, frustrated by the lack of reception.

“I’ve been dealing with this issue for two years now,” Dunne said. “It’s 2012, everybody needs their cellphones.”

As Boca Raton House of Representatives parliamentarian, he exercised his right to propose a resolution the next day when he approached Jaclyn Broudy, Boca Raton House speaker, and voiced his concerns about cellphone reception in the dorms on campus.

“I finally realized I was going to do something about it,” he said. “So, I talked to Jaclyn Broudy.”

Dunne and Broudy recognized the residential students’ concerns and drafted a resolution to support the improvement of the persistent cellphone reception problem in the dorms.

Dunne contacted Housing to retrieve figures about the number of students living in IVA and the number of students who have complained about the lack of cellphone reception.

“I asked them for the figures on how many students were having problems with cellphone reception,” Dunne said.

He did not receive a response.

The UP contacted the Department of Housing and Residential Life requesting the complaints filed with the department regarding cellphone reception and has not received a response as of press time.

According to Jill Eckardt, director of Housing and Residential Life, cellphone reception is something that the Department of Housing has no control over.

“Certainly students are frustrated over cell service. I hear their concerns,” Eckardt said. “There is no universal coverage for reception. That is not something we promised.”

Eckardt also claimed that Housing hadn’t received any complaints from IVA residents since the release of the UP article over a month ago regarding the issues students were having with cellphone reception campus-wide.

“Until we heard of the UP article, we hadn’t heard any complaints from students,” Eckardt said.

IVA residents disagreed.

“At the beginning of fall, I complained to the front desk in IVA. They said they were getting a new tower, but it hasn’t gotten any better,” said Jennifer Hadley, a senior exercise science major currently residing in IVA North.

“I complained in the beginning of fall. [My resident advisor] told me I can complain to Housing, but it wouldn’t do me any good,” said Carly Levy, a sophomore theatre major living in IVA South.

And according to Michael Scott Wilson, IVA North residential coordinator, students have gone to him with complaints.

“We’ve heard complaints, not lately, but earlier in the semester,” Wilson said. “We take our complaints to Jill [Eckardt].”

“I feel like [my complaints] won’t go anywhere because I’m just one person,” said Jonathan Tellex, a sophomore psychology major living in IVA North. “I don’t think anything will ever be done.”

But he’s not the only person to complain. The UP spoke to more than 10 students over the course of a single day who claimed they had filed complaints with either the resident coordinator or a resident advisor.

“I feel like they’re taking our complaints lightly,” Carly Levy added.

Jaclyn Broudy and Ian Dunne weren’t taking the student concerns lightly.

“The newest UP talks about this issue [cellphone reception]. Boca students have an issue with this and that’s why we’re advocating for them,” Broudy said at the House meeting on Oct. 12 when the resolution was proposed.

The House voted to table the resolution indefinitely at the Oct. 26 House meeting, meaning it won’t be brought up again, because the resolution was specific to only the dorms on the Boca campus.

“People wanted [the resolution] to spread to the entire campus,” Broudy told the UP. “People thought we were neglecting commuter students.”

Currently, according to Broudy, the House is waiting for another representative to reword the resolution to include all areas on campus.

According to Jason Ball, AT&T created an application called “Mark the Spot” available on Apple’s app store and the Android Market that would help the carrier locate the areas that are problematic. If students download the app, they can “mark the spot” that they are having bad reception using GPS technology. AT&T uses this information to locate areas with weak reception. They can then find solutions for these areas, according to Ball. Options of the app include: Dropped Call, Failed Call Attempt, No Coverage, Data – Can’t Connect, Data – Too Slow and Report Spam Text. You can also select if you’re indoors, outdoors, traveling and at home. The app also provides tips to boost cellphone reception and battery life and locates Hot Spots for Wi-Fi when reception isn’t available. 

Resident students claim they’ve complained to the Department of Housing and Residential Life about poor cellphone reception. Housing claims it has no control over reception. Here’s what students living in Innovation Village Apartments North had to say about their cellphone reception issues:

“A lot of students are complaining, but I guess they’re not really taking action.” —Shamariah Reneau, sophomore elementary education major

“I actually get pretty good service. I live on the eighth floor, and I have Metro PCS.” —Stefanie Coutley, sophomore nursing major

“I get horrible cellphone reception. I’ve lived here since the beginning of the semester but then also, I lived on the south side last year, and it was still horrible. I haven’t complained, but I try not to be really here that much. But I haven’t complained yet.” —Sibrena Scott, junior biology major

“I have [complained about it] to the front desk, that’s it really. I just said ‘AT&T does not get any service.’” —Starr Fain, junior mathematical science major

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