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The University will receive 30 new Macintoshes next week which will be available exclusively for word processing use, officials announced in yesterday's Committee on College Life (CCL) meeting.
As of now, the College is still negotiating over where the machines will go once they arrive, CCL members said. Some of the computers are definitely slated for Currier House while others may be set up in a Science Center room currently being used as storage space, top College administrators added.
Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III, a member of the CCL, said yesterday that the machines should be set up in as early as two weeks. CCL members said that they were primarily seeking space that students could access round-the-clock and that was centrally located on campus.
Originally, members of the Undergraduate Council asked Science Center officials for space in the North Yard complex, but were denied it because the area they sought is currently being used for storage.
Epps said that he appealed to Philip Parsons, associate dean for planning, "who is the [University's] ultimate space czar," to see if it were possible to find room in the Science Center.
If the Science Center option does not work out, Epps added, the remaining computers may be placed in Leverett House.
But the new computers are just the start of a long-term discussion on the role of wordprocessing in the College--an issue which the CCL will take up this year.
"We know that there is an expressed need for them, but we have not yet based that on whether computers provide an advantage" in writing papers, Epps said.
As more and more undergraduates acquire computers, administrators have begun to question whether the machines offer students who can afford them a distinct academic advantage. The dean said that he and the CCL will also discuss whether the University should lease computers to students who are unable to afford to purchase units, which typically range from $500 to $2000.
In addition, the CCL will attempt to gather data on how many students currently own computers, Epps said. "We need to do that because otherwise we are planning in a vaccuum," he added.
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