When Boston University (BU) students return next semester, many will find a cable TV connection awaiting them in their rooms—an amenity that is unlikely to reach Harvard students in the near future.
Cable service will be provided for every student in university housing thanks to BU President ad interim Aram V. Chobanian, who thought students would enjoy the luxury, according to Colin Riley, director of media relations for BU.
Some dorms will have cable access when students return from break, but there is no set time for when the service will be extended to all dorms, said Riley. He said that the buildings were already wired, and he expects that there will be no logistical problems with installing cable in any historical buildings.
Fred Nitsch, a junior at BU, said he thinks that it is good that the university is providing campus-wide cable access, especially since broadcast TV reception at BU is spotty.
“Right now, some people get three channels that are fuzzy, but that’s about it,” said Nitsch, who added that he will try not to watch too much TV because he fears being distracted by the new cable service.
While students will not be charged specifically for cable, Riley said, the cost will probably be folded into rising housing fees at the university.
BU junior Steve Wissing, who also worries about the distraction, said he is not as enthused as many of his friends are about cable.
“It’s kind of upsetting that I’m paying for other people’s need to watch television,” Wissing said.
While Harvard’s BU neighbors enjoy expanded TV offerings, cable is unlikely to make its debut here.
Harvard administrators fear the cost of such a project and House masters are concerned that cable might diminish House life, according to Undergraduate Council President Matthew W. Mahan ’05.
Mahan said that the Committee on House Life is where the discussion for cable would take place, although he doesn’t expect BU’s action to cause any change here.
In the past, Harvard students have pushed for cable using existing ethernet connections.
Mahan brought up the issue on the council’s Campus Life Committee, while serving as its chair last year, but said securing cable access was not a part of his presidential agenda.
“It wasn’t a huge priority this year—we had too much going on,” Mahan said, referring to the curricular review, among other projects.
—Staff writer Jeffrey P. Amlin can be reached at email@example.com.