Where did the channels go?

Rachel Belson, Contributing Writer

If you are a returning student to Allegheny College, you may notice the college is making some changes.  These changes include new sidewalks, roadwork, remodeled library, the Bicentennial tribute by Schultz, and cable boxes with fewer channels.  Of these changes, the one that seems to be angering returning students the most is the cable change.

Our rooms no longer automatically come with cable which students can tap into immediately upon arrival.  In order to receive cable, students must fill out a form acknowledging the wish to have cable, then going to Murray Hall to pick it up.

This is not, though, where the problem lies.  Last year, and in previous years, students received roughly sixty channels, including the popular channels MTV, ABC Family, Roots Sports, USA and many other popular news channels. With the new digital setup, we no longer receive those channels, leading to students complaining that channels they watch are no longer provided.

We are now being told that, if you can find a ride, you must go to Armstrong directly and sign up to pay an additional monthly fee just to receive the channels we received for free last year.  Allegheny is trying to make this look good; however, because now we have more premium packages available to us, at, you guessed it, a higher monthly fee!

As many, if not all of us, know, Allegheny College is a fairly expensive school.  According to Allegheny’s official website, tuition costs $52,449 per year, not including books and other expenses students may come across, such as traveling home.  Even with the reduced price for our cable packages, just a small additional monthly expense is too much for most students.

In this day in age, with the importance of television as a learning tool, cable with more than thirty channels should be something readily available to all students, without an additional fee.

Communication Arts classes focus around popular media of today.  Being up to date on popular media is essential for success in those classes.  The majority of the channels we receive are news channels.  The rest of the channels are popular children’s channels or channels more appropriate for an older audience.  None of the channels popular for our age group are available on the cable Allegheny provides for us.

Because tuition is already at such a high cost, Allegheny should provide, at minimum, the sixty channels we had the previous year.  Students understand that Armstrong changed from Analog to Digital, and changed the pricing, but the students should not be penalized for that change.  Also, companies usually “grandfather” customers into their original plan, even when pricing changes.  It does not make sense that Allegheny was not able to keep our previous plan.  The previous sixty channels we had were not only for our entertainment, but essential for learning at a liberal arts college.