The Dean of Students' office announced this week that a total of 30 new Macintosh computers and six printers reserved exclusively for undergraduate word-processing will be installed in the Science Center and in Currier House.
Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III said Monday that the computers will be available to students as early as Thanksgiving but not later than the beginning of Reading Period in January.
Undergraduate Council members who last spring called on Harvard to buy the computers said the Macs would help ease the heavy competition for word-processing time on existing Science Center terminals.
Currently, students with assignments for computer science courses have priority over those who need the terminals for word processing.
Under the arrangement worked out by Epps, Undergraduate Council members, and Associate Dean for Planning Philip Parsons, six or seven of the Macs will be installed in Currier House with the rest going into the former library supply and recieving room in the Science Center basement.
Since the College earlier this fall agreed to purchase the additional computers at a cost of $40,000, the chief problem remaining was to find suitable space for the equipment, according to Undergraduate Council Chairman Richard S. Eisert '88.
Nevertheless, coordinators of the project have yet to secure funding to renovate the rooms in Currier and the Science Center.
Lance Jackson of the Harvard Computer Services is drafting floor plans and estimating the cost of lighting and furnishing the terminal rooms.
The council had considered placing a number of the Macs in Leverett House but wanted to make them equally accessible to all undergraduates, Eisert said.
The Science Center "is about the closest thing we could get to equidistance between the Quad and the river houses," Eisert said.
The Undergraduate Council last spring called on Epps to provide 50 new terminals to address "the incredible need for word processing in general," said council Vice Chairman Amy B. Zegart '89.
That was after a council study estimated that 200 new terminals were needed. Council members said they will monitor use of the 30 Macs to determine whether the need has been met.
"It all began after reports in the Crimson about actual fistfights over using them last year," Zegart said, referring to the 38 Macs and 23 IBM PCs now in the Science Center.
The council's study said it is the college's responsibility to provide the computers because students who cannot afford their own are at "an unecessary academic disadvantage," she said.
The report also called on the college to provide cheap computer rentals, official letters to freshmen urging them to buy their own terminals, and financial aid for students who can't afford to buy a computer on their own, Zegart said.
"This is really just the beginning of a larger project to make word processing available to all undergraduates," she said.
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